FG Stops Air Peace Flight Operations To Benue Over Grudge With Governor Ortom
The weekly Air Peace Airline flight operations to Makurdi Airport in Benue were intentionally stopped by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government, SaharaReporters has gathered.
Following a series of killings in the state by gunmen, Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, had repeatedly called for the urgent intervention of the Buhari-led government.
North-central Nigerian states, especially Benue have been at the mercy of armed militia groups suspected to be herdsmen, who maim and kill the locals.
On several occasions, Ortom has expressed disappointment at the President for failing to adequately address security challenges in the state, especially as the governor blames Fulani herdsmen for the killings.Ortom has expressed the belief that Buhari, as a Fulani man and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces could do more for the state.
The governor had also claimed that Buhari ordered security forces not to move against the criminal herdsmen.
Presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu had however challenged Ortom to identify the military personnel who told him that Buhari ordered security forces not to move against criminal herdsmen.
However, a top official in the Ministry of Aviation told SaharaReporters that commercial flight operations were restricted at the airport in the state by the Nigerian government as part of moves to “deal with the governor.”
Air Peace Airline in December 2020 started inaugural flight operations to Makurdi airport but stopped after a few weeks.
The source said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority the regulatory body recently cleared the airline to resume flight operations to the airport but the approval was overruled by President Buhari.
“Buhari has refused to allow Air Peace flights to go to Makurdi over his ‘beef’ (grudge) with Governor Ortom, you surprised right?” the FAAN official said.
“Note, Air Peace used to fly to the airport before but was stopped after just four flights. Recently, the airline tried to set up a station again but to our surprise, the President overruled the aviation sector approval.”
Currently, people who choose to travel by flight to Makurdi from Lagos, for instance, first take a flight to Abuja or Enugu and then go to Makurdi from there.