Human rights lawyer and advocate, Mr. Femi Falana, has written to the Minister of Aviation under the Freedom of Information (FOI) law to request the name of the Very Important Personality (VIP) who prevented his Arik Air flight into Abuja on June 19 from landing as scheduled.  

The information is to enable him file a lawsuit against the individual for endangering the lives of the over 150 passengers on board.

In the request, Mr. Falana said 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,” the letter said.

He noted that President Goodluck Jonathan had travelled to Brazil the previous day, while Vice President Namadi Sambo was attending an emergency meeting with the country's security chiefs at the 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,” Mr. Falana said.  “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.”

Under the provisions of the FOI, the Minister has seven days of receiving the letter to provide the requested information, or face legal proceedings.

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