Mystery aircraft still on Lagos streets
•No sign of repair work, as tourists come in numbers
•We will guarantee the planes’ security and escort them to their destination –Police
Twenty four hours after two strange planes were discovered on Igando-Iyanna Iba road and Apapa-Oshodi expressway, both in Lagos State, the aircraft are still at sites.
The two aircraft were discovered in the early hours of Thursday at Dapsey, a petrol station, on the Igando-Iyana Iba road and Sanya area of Apapa-Oshodi expressway, thereby causing a stir. Some city dweller had speculated that the planes crash-landed on the road, until the police stated that the aircraft were being towed the previous night and had tyre problem.
Yesteday when newsmen visted the scenes, security men were having hectic time trying to ward off people, who trooped from various parts of the state to catch a glimpse of the planes.
One of the aircraft, which belonged to the late flamboyant pastor and General Overseer of Bethel Ministries at Ajah, Gabriel Oduyemi, it was learnt, was being towed from Murtala Muhammed Airport to Badagry, through Iyanna Iba- Isheri road.
It was gathered that the plane, which was recently released to Capt Matthew Ekeinde, husband of Nollywood star, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, was being dragged to Badagry before its tyre burst.
At Igando, the right rear tyre burst and got torn into shreds leaving the rim, which left an impact or impression on the road and entrance into the petrol station.
One of the security men at the petrol station told Saturday Sun that the plane would have got to its destination unnoticed had the trye not developed problem, noting that it was to avoid the kind of scene witnessed since Thursday morning that the owners decided to move it in the night, when the roads were free and people already deep in sleep.
Over 20 secuirty personnel, including, Nigeria police, civil defence, Neibourhood Watch and others were keeping watch at the site of the plane in Igando yesterday.
One of the petrol attendants told newsmen that the owner of the aircraft would pay for the secuirty so far provided to protect the plane. He also said that owing to the crowd that thronged the petrol station business activites have been affected, as motorists find it difficult driving into the station to buy fuel, since the plane has blocked the other entrance.
At the Sanya site, where the second aircraft was parked, only a scanty number of city dwellers were noticed. There was also no sign of round-the-clock presence of policemen.
When newsen first visited the scene yesterday morning, passers-by were seen taking pictures of the plane with their mobile phones. In the afternoon, when our reporter visited again, the plane had been sandwiched among trailers parked on the service lane of the expressway. A police patrol van, bearing about five policemen were sighted, which later drove off, with its occupants.
Some of the tourists, who spoke to our correspondent, at the Igando site, noted that it was their first time of being close to an aeroplane. While some expressed fears that there was more to that occurrence, others seem to be excited to have been given the opportunity to see a plane at close range.
One of the residents along Sanya axis said: “I hope that they are not planning to turn this place into a jet parking lot. We were told that the tyre got spoilt. How many days will it take them to move this aircraft. I believe that they are sampling the spot, to know if they can convert the area to a temporary parking space. This plane does not look like it has a problem. We do not need this type of distraction.”
Yet another resident described the site as beautiful. “I had to bring my children to see this and take some photographs. You can only see such thing in the museum, which is not within reach,” he declared.
Another resident, simply known as Shade, also said: “It now serves as a tourist site. Most of us are yet to see a real plane; so I decided to take my children there to see the plane and take pictures. In Nigeria of today, it is only the rich that are given the opportunity to come close to the airport or board planes.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos command’s deputy spokesperson, Damascus Ezeani, confirmed that the planes were still at the sites and have full police protection.
“The aviation sector or the owners of these planes are yet to repair the tyres of the said planes at Igando and we would be on ground to secure as well as escort the plane to its final destination. We were informed to provide security during the movement of these planes to its various destinations. Our duty is to protect lives and properties. We will be on ground, pending when the aircraft will be transported. There is no cause for alarm and most especially vandals should stay away from the area,” he stated.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mazi Nnamdi Udoh, had, in a statement, said the aircraft had long been within the agency’s facility till Wednesday night when it was removed.
Udoh said: “The aircraft that was sighted by the residents was actually a junk one belonging to the late Apostle Gabriel Oduyemi of Bethel Ministries. The aircraft was actually released to Capt Ekeinde, who will be using it for educational purposes in Badagry, Lagos.”
Ekeinde confirmed on the telephone that the scrap plane belonged to him. He said: “The aircraft will be situated in a multipurpose and entertainment centre, which will be opened very soon. When opened, the centre will be the first of its kind in West Africa.”