Missing Nigerian aircraft : President orders arrests

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Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua has ordered the arrest and interrogation of four key officials of the National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), over their roles in the alleged doctoring of the transcript of the Voice Flight Recorder between the pilot of the missing Beechcraft 1900D plane and the control tower of the Port Harcourt airport in southern Nigeria.

The directive followed the discovery, by the Technical Committee set up by the President to investigate the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the plane, that apart from doctoring the transcript, the tape containing the conversation between the pilot of the missing aircraft and the Port Harcourt control tower was erased after the accident.

The affected officials are NAMA boss Ado Sanusi; Mr Olopha B. Stephen, Director of Air traffic Services; Mr. Eze, Director of Technical Services and Mr A. Adedara, General Manager, Search and Rescue.

The plane, operated by charter airline Wings Aviation Ltd., went missing in March this year while flying from the commercial city of Lagos to the Bebi Air Strip in southern Cross Rivers state

Speculations have surrounded the disappearance of the plane, with a section of the local media reporting it was clandestinely flown out of the country so it would not be impounded by the authorities, since the owner – a former state governor who was not identified – was said to be facing corruption charges.

All efforts to find the plane, which has three crew members on board at the time of the clash, have so far failed, raising fears it may have crashed into the deep mangroves of the area, which borders Cameroon. Panapress .

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