Tragedy was recently averted when a private jet owned by Nigerian billionaire businessman, Chief Adedeji Adeleke, caught fire while taking off at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, multiple sources told LEADERSHIP on Saturday.
Chief Adeleke is the father of Afrobeat star, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido.
He is also the brother of Osun State governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke.
Chief Adeleke owns the Bombadier Global Express 6000 involved in the incident. The jet is used as a family plane by the Adelekes.
According to the report, the incident occurred at the domestic wing of the Airport at about 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, when the jet was about to take off from Lagos to Abuja.
However, the incident wasn’t formally communicated to the concerned aviation regulatory authorities, a development that is against standard protocol, LEADERSHIP reports.
According to the report, Governor Adeleke and his top aides were on board the aircraft when the incident occurred.
It was learnt that the aircraft had taxied to the end of the runway, shortly before departure, when a loud explosion was heard from the engine of the jet, causing it to abort take-off immediately.
“No deaths or injuries were reported, and other passengers in the plane as of the time of the incident could not be ascertained,” a source privy to the development told the newspaper.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the jet had been parked at the Executive Jet hanger of the airport before it was deployed on September 5.
However, according to the report, there were no injuries or deaths recorded from the incident.
Meanwhile, airport authorities, Osun State government and the owners of the private hangar have been doing everything to ensure that the news does not get out, the report said.
Governor Adeleke’s aides could not be reached but one of the passengers on the plane told LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity that the operators of the hangar suspected that there might be foul play as both engines of the aircraft were damaged.
However, the chief executive officer (CEO), Executive Jets, which manages the hangar where the private jet was parked, Sam Iwuajoku, disclosed that the aircraft had Foreign Object Damage (FOD) that made the aircraft experience high temperature, which resulted in the explosion.
According to him, the FOD was caused by a bird nest in one of the engines of the jet.
“At take-off, the engine had a high temperature and it was caused by a bird nest in one of the engines of the aircraft.
“It happens when an aircraft is parked and not properly covered so birds will build their nest and anything they bring into the aircraft can spark high temperature.
“It happened to one of my aircraft in 2021; we had to remove the engine and the engine was in Germany for 14 months. So, it’s a common thing in Africa because we have birds around,” he stated.
Sources told LEADERSHIP that Davido used the aircraft the previous day, September 4.
Efforts to reach the NCAA were not successful but a source told the newspaper that the incident was not reported to the agency as its Air Worthiness Department was not aware of the incident.
“NCAA isn’t aware of this incident because the Air Worthiness Department is not aware,” the source was quoted as saying.