REDEEMED Christian Church of God (RCCG) general overseer Pastor Enoch Adeboye has had his personal private helicopter grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following the expiration of its paperwork.
Like most other wealthy Nigerian clergymen and pastorprueners, Pastor Adeboye travels by private jet and in his case, owns an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter with registration number 5N-EAA,. However, it appears that his annual paperwork has expired, forcing the NCAA to ground the chopper at the Lagos airport during which time vital safety checks will be carried out, especially on some spare parts that are due for replacement.
Last weekend, Pastor Adeboye held a meeting with RCCG pastors in Ibadan but said he arrived late because someone had requested a bribe from him to fly his chopper. However, Pastor Adeboye refused to pay and instead flew to Ibadan on another aircraft reportedly belonging to Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners Chapel.
One Nigerian Airspace Management Agency official said: “The team relating directly with Daddy GO should have told the man of God at the time that his chopper had not been cleared by the NCAA and as such, it couldn’t go on the Ibadan trip. They shouldn’t have waited till the last minute.
“The NCAA that we have now is different from what it used to be. There is a new man in charge who always insists that things must be done properly as far as the safety of lives is concerned.
“The church’s protocol team should have told him that the NCAA has not cleared the aircraft and it may not clear it within a short time because certain procedure must be followed. As such, an alternative arrangement should have been made.
“Last Saturday morning, when it later became obvious that the jet was not cleared to fly, they had to make an alternative arrangement with Bishop Oyedepo’s chopper. They had to quickly begin that process by filing the flight plan, so it was Bishop’s aircraft that Pastor Adeboye later flew to the event in.”
An official from Omni-Blu Aviation, the airline operating Pastor Adeboye’s helicopter, confirmed the development. He said a letter from Italian company Leonardo, the manufacturer of Pastor Adeboye’s helicopter, requesting the NCAA grant a time extension on some spare parts that are due for replacement.
These spare parts have been ordered from the manufacturer but they have yet to be shipped into Nigeria because they are usually produced on demand. As a result, the NCAA requested that comprehensive safety checks be conducted on the helicopter in line with standard aviation safety practice.