The Federal Government has ordered the release of the the Chad-bound Russian aircraft detained at the Aminu Kano Airport in Kano, hour after it said it was not in a hurry to let the aircraft go.
PR Nigeria, an agency that circulates press statements for Nigerian security agencies, had quoted an unnamed top security official as telling it that “Nigeria has no reason to release the aircraft and its cargo until investigation is concluded”.
“In view of the evidence of active collaboration with Boko Haram terrorists by some French speaking neighbouring countries, it has become pertinent for Nigeria to be conscious and be more careful in these matters,” PR Nigeria further quoted the official as saying.
But the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Adesola Amosu, said Monday afternoon that the government had approved the release of the aircraft, the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting.
France had said the plane was conveying equipment, owned by its peacekeeping force, from Bangui (Central African Republic) to Ndjamena (Chad), and had diplomatic cover to make a stop-over in Nigeria.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, had said Sunday that Nigerian authorities had agreed to let the aircraft go.
“Due to the nationality of the aircraft, and the nature of the cargo, local airport Nigerian authorities in Kano have decided to check the flight plan, the clearance and the cargo manifest before authorizing the plane to leave,” the ambassador said in statement through which he admitted his country’s ownership of the cargo aboard the aircraft.
“Official information has been supplied by the French Embassy in Nigeria. The Nigerian federal and airport authorities, being satisfied with the documents and the genuine character of the flight, have announced that the plane will be authorized to pursue its flight to Ndjamena.”