Economy Politics

Panic as Air Peace aircraft tyre bursts during take-off

Written by Maritime First

…Hoodlums burn down houses, shops in Ibadan, police arrest 11***

There was panic at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Sunday evening when the tyre of an Air Peace aircraft blew off and made a loud sound while it was already taxiing for take-off on the runway.

It was gathered that passengers on the aircraft, who were heading to Benin from Abuja, were terrified by the incident, as they stated that the pilot struggled to control the airplane before it was eventually towed to a safe location at the NAIA.

Impeccable sources at the airport also told our correspondent that it was a Boeing 737 aircraft belonging to Air Peace that was involved in the incident, which happened around 5:40 pm at the Abuja airport on Sunday.

“The aircraft was already running on the runway in preparation for take-off and suddenly one of the tyres blew off. The tyre burst while the plane was in the process to take off. This created panic among passengers but the pilot was professional enough as he controlled the plane before it was towed to a safe location,” a passenger, who simply gave his name as Johnson, said.

A source at the airport stated that “This happened around 5:40 pm and the airline is Air Peace. The aircraft involved is Boeing 737 and the tyre burst was so loud because the aircraft was already moving on the runway. This caused some form of panic among passengers and other people at the airport.

“The situation was, however, controlled and the plane was towed out of the runway and the terrified passengers alighted safely. The aircraft is out of use for now and engineers are now observing the plane at the airport.”

The spokesperson for Air Peace, Chris Iwarah, confirmed the development when contacted by our correspondent and stated that the airline’s engineers were deployed to check what happened to the aircraft.

He said, “What we had was a low speed reject and that means that the aircraft was taxiing when the pilot realised that one of the tyres had punctured and because of that he had to reject further taxiing for take-off. Now once this happens, the affected tyre will be changed; not by just anybody but by qualified engineers.

“However, the flight was from Abuja to Benin and once it is 6.30pm you can’t operate into Benin because of sunset. But if it were Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja or Lagos airports, you could operate into any of them and to some extent Kaduna. But other airports in the country, once it is sunset you can’t operate into them.”

Iwarah added, “Now this incident happened close to sunset and when they were changing the tyre that got punctured, we realised that it was already sunset. So we had no option than to cancel the flight. This was done in time so that people could return to their homes before it gets dark.

“The flight was rescheduled to take off tomorrow (Monday). However, no specific time was given because Benin currently experiences a lot of weather issues and so we have to be sure about the time before we send it to the passengers. But we are certain that the flight is for tomorrow (Monday).”

In the meantime, the Oyo State Police Command on Sunday confirmed the arrest of 11 suspects in connection with the mayhem wreaked on three areas of Ibadan between Friday and Sunday.

Our correspondent gathered that the hoodlums had been disturbing the peace of the city for days, setting houses, vehicles and shops ablaze, and looting with reckless abandon.

The affected areas are Ojagbo in Ibadan North East; the back of the Oyo State All Progressives Congress secretariat; Oke Ado, Ibadan SouthEast Local Government Area, and Idi-Arere, a suburb of the area where the ‘One Million Boys’ operated for weeks in 2018.

In the latest attack on Idi-Arere and environs, some hoodlums burnt down 30 shops and several houses on the Beere-Molete Road.

The affected shops and houses were located in Idi-Arere, Bode and up to the Allelluyah filling station, in the heart of the city.

One of the residents told our correspondent that the affected structures included shops belonging to fashion designers, soft drink sellers, electronics sellers, frozen food sellers and cooking material sellers, among others.

The Idi-Arere incident, like the others in Oke Ado and Ojagbo, occurred in the dead of the night when many of the residents were sleeping, fuelling suspicions that the attacks were carried out by the ‘One Million Boys’.

A source stated, “It is a case of arson. The hoodlums burnt houses and shops too. The attacks took place very late into the night.

“It was when we woke up that we saw everything. It is not up to Popoyemoja, it stopped at Idi-Arere, from the junction to Bode Road.

“Though, I didn’t count the number of shops, but, it stretched from the junction to the Alleluyah petrol station. But, we are talking of about 30 shops on both sides of the road.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, who confirmed the incident to PUNCH Metro, said 11 suspects had been arrested.

Ajisebutu said, “Investigation to determine the cause and motive behind the incident is ongoing.

“Normalcy has been restored to the affected areas. The state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, has directed the policemen drafted to the areas to carry out intensive patrol as well as 24 hours surveillance to prevent a further breakdown of law and order.

“While directing that the 11 arrested suspects, including their ringleaders, be charged to court immediately after conclusion of investigation, the CP warned hoodlums and other criminal elements against wanton destruction of lives and property.”

Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has summoned an emergency meeting of all family heads from the affected areas to a meeting in his palace at Popoyemoja by noon on Tuesday.

The Mogajis (family heads) and Baales (village heads) expected at the palace for the meeting include those whose family compounds fall within Ojagbo, Beyerunka, Labiran, Idi-Arere/Asuni, Asaka, Isale Osi, Oopo Yeosa and Olorisa Oko areas of Ibadan.

Oba Adetunji made the summons public while receiving members of the National Council of Muslim Youths, led by Sheikh Daud Afolabi, in his palace on Sunday.

According to the monarch, the nefarious activities of the street urchins in some areas of Ibadan are becoming worrisome and the need to contain them through collective efforts of all stakeholders has become imperative.

 Oba Adetunji, who sympathised with the victims of the arson and looting, noted that the security of lives and property was not the responsibility of law enforcement agents alone, but of all the residents.

He also reasoned that as the 2019 general elections were fast approaching, it was important for all family heads in Ibadan, if they notice anything strange, to promptly report to the police for appropriate action, particularly those who had formed the habit of tearing other candidates’ posters and banners, so as to prevent the breakdown of law and order.

Responding, the coordinator of NACOMYO, Afolabi, hailed the Olubadan for the integrity that he had brought to bear on his official conduct.


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Maritime First