Falana asks minister to name ÔÇśVIP' in airline's delayed landing

altLagos lawyer Mr. Femi Falana has given the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, seven days to provide the name of a “very important personality” (VIP) who caused the delayed landing of an Arik aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for over 25 minutes on June 19.

He said the request, made under the Freedom of Information(FOI) Act, 2011, is to enable him sue the supposed VIP for endangering the lives of over 150 passengers on board the plane.

Falana said: “Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to my request within seven days of the receipt of this letter, I shall not hesitate to apply for an order of mandamus at the Federal High Court with a view to compelling you to disclose the identity of the said Very Important Personality forthwith.”

The popular lawyer made the request in a letter to the minister, entitled: Illegal Prevention of Arik Plane from Landing At the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Due To VIP Movement.

He noted that the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, imposes a duty on all public officers to make requested information available to the public.

Falana said he and other passengers were subjected to unwarranted mental and psychological torture while the Arik plane was hovering in the air.

21st June 2012

The Minister of Aviation,
Ministry of Aviation,
Federal Secretariat,
Abuja.

Illegal Prevention of Arik Plane From Landing At the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport Due To VIP Movement.

I boarded ARIK Flight No W3 271 from Lagos to Abuja at 10.20 am on tuesday, June 19, 2012. The flight which was scheduled to land at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja at 11.15 am was illegally prevented from landing by the Airport Authorities until 11.46 am due to the alleged "movement of a Very Important Personality".

Having regard to the June 3,2012 Dana plane crash in Lagos which killed all the 153 passengers and crew on board as well 10 other persons in their homes I was subjected to unwarranted mental and psychological torture. Most other passengers on board were equally traumatised as the ARIK plane was forced to hover in the air for 25 minutes.

From the information at my disposal the President of the Republic, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan had travelled to Brazil on Monday, June 18, 2012 to attend the Earth Summit while the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo was attending an emergency meeting with the country's security chiefs (over the terrorist attacks which led to the mindless killings of scores of innocent people in Kaduna and Yobe States) at the material time. When the plane eventually landed i was reliably informed that there had been a restriction of movement at the airport for over one hour. In the process the fundamental right of hundreds of people to freedom of movement was violated by the Airport Authorities at the instance of the said Very Important Personality.


In the light of the foregoing I am compelled to request you to furnish me with the name of the said Very Important Personality to enable me to sue him for endangering the lives of over 150 passengers. This request is made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 which has imposed a duty on all public officers to make requested information available to members of the public.

TAKE NOTICE that if you fail or refuse to accede to my request within SEVEN DAYS of the receipt of this letter I shall not hesitate to apply for an order of mandamus at the Federal High Court with a view to compelling you to disclose the identity of the said Very Important Personality forthwith.

Yours Sincerely,

Femi Falana.