Written by Yunus Abdulhameed Friday, 10 February 2012 05:00
A British Airways flight from London landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja in darkness early yesterday following a generator failure, Daily Trust learnt.
The plane, which was carrying Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina and many other passengers, landed safely at about 5.55am, airport officials said.
After the incident, Adesina, believing it was caused by an outage in public power supply, reported the matter to Minister of Power Prof. Barth Nnaji.
Spokesman for the Ministry of Power, Mr. Greyne Anosike, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Adesina had reported the matter to Nnaji.
Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, Deputy General Manager for Public Affairs at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), confirmed the incident. She said because of unstable public power supply, it was the practice of FAAN to switch to generators whenever a plane was landing.
But the generator “tripped off for two minutes” when the BA flight was landing, adding that at that time there was also a power outage from PHCN, Mrs. Yakubu said, quoted by NAN.
Anosike, however, insisted that there was no power outage from PHCN at the time of the incident.
The Minister of Power yesterday said he was launching an investigation.
In a statement in Abuja, Ogbuagu Anikwe, a spokesman for the minister, said
initial findings showed that the power cut was not caused by the PHCN or the Abuja Electric Power Distribution Company as there was electricity supply when the incident occurred.
“The PHCN, indeed, has two supply lines dedicated to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in recognition of its eminence in the national scheme of things, and there is a standing ministerial instruction that the airport be supplied with electricity at all times once power is available in the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.
Ogbuagwu said the minister was conscious of the implications of the incident on national security and international image and therefore entered into discussions with his counterpart in the aviation ministry on how international airlines and the airport authorities can make fuller use of electricity supply from the PHCN.
Daily Trust gathered that the incident arose from the failure of generators at the airport to supply power at the time the British Airways plane was landing.
Officials say it is a regular practice in Nigeria to rely on generators when international flights are landing because of unpredictability of public power supply.