Nigeria: 'I'm Surprised Naira Marley Hasn't Been Arrested' - Executive Jets Boss

Naira Marley (file photo)

The Chief Executive Officer of Executive Jets Services Limited, Sam Iwu, has expressed surprise over the failure of the Nigerian authorities to arrest controversial singer, Naira Marley.

Speaking in an exclusive chat with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday, Mr Iwu, head of the aviation company whose jet conveyed Naira Marley to Abuja for a show at the weekend, frowned at the conduct of the musician and his team.

The CEO of the aviation company had earlier apologised for flying Naira Marley to Abuja for the now controversial Jabi Lake concert.

Naira Marley performed at the Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja at the weekend amid measures by the Nigerian government to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The singer became the subject of criticisms among Nigerians, especially on social media, after clips of his performance went viral. The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) in its reaction sealed off the Jabi Lake mall for violating COVID-19 restriction orders.

Speaking during the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria's minister for aviation, said the Executive Jets' flight that conveyed Naira Marley for the concert was approved for a different purpose.

He announced the indefinite suspension of the company and the flight captain for providing false information.

Reaction

Mr Iwu in his statement on Monday claimed that the flight was approved to convey a judge to Abuja but the passenger had, however, found his way to the capital via another flight.

He explained that the company later got an offer to convey another set of passengers to Abuja, a development that caused confusion as the name "Fashola Babatunde" appeared in the letter.

Mr Iwu claimed he thought it was the minister of works and housing but they turned out to be "a bunch of useless people".

The company apologised over the incident and vowed that it won't make such mistakes again.

Firm stands by letter

Mr Iwu's letter generated furore on social media Tuesday as Nigerians were divided in their reactions to the content of the letter. While many condemned the choice of words deployed, others eulogised the man and his company for their stand on the matter.

But in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Iwu said he stands by the content of the letter.

Although he admitted that he wrote the letter out of anger, he condemned indiscriminate movement of any form during the pandemic.

"Why will anyone be moving around unnecessarily during a pandemic?" he queried. "Moving around for musical concert at this time is 'unnecessary movement'. I am wondering why they were not even arrested.

"I have been abused by people who said I referred to them as 'useless people' but I don't care. If you see the truth, say it. Although I said so in anger, that is still my position today."

The company CEO reiterated his earlier position that he was contacted by an agent and mistook the client for 'Babatunde Fashola'.

Surprisingly, he said, the client turned out to be Naira Marley, whose real name is Azeez Fashola.

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