Grounded First Nation’s multimillion-dollar plane sold as scrap, towed to Oyo

An Airbus A320 jet belonging to First Nation has been sold as scrap to a yet-to-be-identified buyer, findings by The PUNCH have shown.

The development came about four years after the carrier grounded its operations for technical reasons.

The buyer of the disused plane has consequently towed the equipment to a town in Oyo where it will be probably converted to a restaurant or other purposes, airport sources close to the deal revealed on Wednesday.

The multimillion-dollar plane, which had become unserviceable over time, was towed along the Oshodi-Agege Motor Road on Tuesday night, causing heavy gridlock and widespread confusion. However, it also caused excitement among commuters.

But there were also widespread rumours the jet had crashed. The development forced the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to issue a statement, denying the aircraft had crashed.

“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would like to inform the general public to disregard the news making the rounds on social media about an alleged crash at Ikeja airport. The aircraft was sold by the owner to a buyer, who was taking it to its final destination,” the FAAN statement read.

But further findings by The PUNCH showed that the aircraft, which had been a subject of litigation, was sold by a third to the Oyo buyer.

Unconfirmed sources said the third party had got a court injunction to sell the plane in order to recover certain costs.

Also, It was learnt that multimillion-dollar aircraft was sold as scrap for less than N50m. This was after its engine and electronics had been removed.

The development probably followed the renewed determination by FAAN and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to rid the nation’s airports of unserviceable and abandoned airplanes.

The National Assembly had recently mandated the aviation agencies to remove unserviceable and disused planes from the nation’s airports, saying they were constituting safety hazards.

One of the drivers of the three lorries towing the fragmented plane told The PUNCH on Wednesday that the equipment was being taken to Oyo State.

The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said FAAN was in charge of the airport land which abandoned and unserviceable aircraft were parked.

According to him, NCAA can only be involved when the issues of safety and security are involved.

He, however, noted that litigation had made it difficult for authorities to get rid of some disused planes in the airport environment.

First Nation has not flown in the past four years.

The Managing Director, First Nation, Mr Kayode Odukoya, could not be reached for comments.

His telephone line did not connect. There was not response to text messages, seeking enquiries on the development, sent to his telephone line.

An industry expert and former Managing Director of Associated Airlines, Mr Alex Nwuba, said when planes had become old and unserviceable, there might be the need to sell them as scraps.

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