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Olusegun Obasanjo
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Obasanjo Denies Being Aboard Troubled Ethiopian Airline     

“I didn’t escape any plane crash,” insists Obasanjo, refuting rumours of being on board the troubled Ethiopian Airline.     

Funsho Akinwale

Ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that he was not on board the troubled Boeing 777-300 aircraft belonging to Ethiopian Airline which was reported to have narrowly missed crashing.

The flight encountered a bad weather while landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport from Addiss-Ababa on Wednesday.

The former president was rumoured to have been among the 393 passengers on the plane from Addiss-Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

But Obasanjo has since refuted the news, saying that he didn’t travel out of the country, let alone board the flight.

Kehinde Akinyemi, the spokesman to the ex-president, also debunked the rumour.

He added that Obasanjo was in his home in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and never travelled at the time the incident occurred.

A news agency had circulated news that Obasanjo experienced air mishap while returning from a stakeholder’s dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Ethiopia before the incident happened in Nigeria.

The airline, through the country manager, Firihiewot Mekonen, confirmed the incident but didn’t say if the former president was on board the flight or not.

Recounting the ordeal, Mekonen said the aircraft upon experiencing bad weather had to embark on a go round the airport for better and smooth landing, which she said was in line with flight safety procedure.

“On a second attempt, the aircraft made safe and normal landing. This was according to safety standards. Pilots are encouraged to make similar go round in such cases.

“However, some media incorrectly reported this standard safety precautionary go round,” she stated.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also confirmed the incident involving Ethiopian Airlines.

In a statement, its spokesperson, Henrietta Yakubu, said : “An Ethiopian Airline flight numbered ET 901 flying from Addis Ababa to Lagos today escaped a mishap and landed safely at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

“The flight, which tried to land at about 1157hours, had earlier mis-approached due to bad weather and immediately went up to position properly for landing.

“The aircraft landed safely at exactly 1213hours and parked at gate E63.

“The Ethiopian flight had departed Lagos for Addis Ababa at 1351hours.”