How Nigerian socialite, Bola Shagaya children’s company, Octavus, sold contaminated aviation fuel to Max Air, leading to grounding of airline

Max Air, a Nigerian private airline, has confirmed that it got contaminated fuel from Octavus Company which eventually led to the grounding of its 5N-MHM aircraft and sanctions by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

An internal memo from Max Air dated July 9 and signed by Mubarak Haladu, the Head of Maintenance which addressed the source of the “fuel contamination.”

“As a result of the serious fuel contamination on NM1649 5N-MHM aircraft on 07/07/23, which lead (sic) to the grounding of the aircraft, we have discussed and decided to suspend taking fuel from Octavus until further notice during which internal investigations and auditing of fuel marketers are satisfactory (sic) completed,” the memo read.

Octavus is run by Sheriff Shagaya and one of his sisters, children of Nigerian businesswoman and socialite, Bola Shagaya.

“They are the source of the contaminated aviation fuel and attempts are being made to cover it up,” a top source revealed on Tuesday.

 

Shagaya, a Nigerian businesswoman and fashion enthusiast, is the founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International, a conglomerate with holdings in real estate, oil and gas, banking and photography.

According to a review online, Octavus launched in Ilorin the Kwara State capital in 2021, and stated that it “creates value for its customers through the safe and timely supply of high-quality aviation fuels and a comprehensive range of high-performance aviation products.”

“The company has commenced the supply of aviation fuel for aircraft at the Ilorin Airport. That means the Ilorin Airport will now join Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, and other top and viable airports in Nigeria as fuelling locations for planes.

“Interestingly, more airlines can now use the Ilorin Airport as a business hub for airplane fuel purchases. This will constitute a catalyst that will improve aviation services at the Ilorin airport more than ever. Octavus has changed the dynamics. Ilorin Airport was historically established as an alternative airport for the Lagos International Airport,” the review stated.

Max Air ceased its domestic operations indefinitely following a suspension by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

This was contained in a letter NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/363 in which the NCAA directed the suspension of Parts A3 and D43 with regards to the operation of Max Air’s Boeing 737 aircraft type with immediate effect.

Part A3 is concerned with the airline’s Aircraft Authorization, whereas Part D43 is concerned with the Aircraft Listing of the Operations Specifications provided to Max Air Ltd.

As a result, the airline’s domestic activities would be halted until the regulatory agency lifted the ban.

The letter reads: “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) hereby suspends Parts A3 (Aircraft Authorization) and D43 (Aircraft Listing) of the Operations Specifications issued to Max Air Ltd. with regards to the operations of the Boeing B737 aircraft type in your fleet.”

“With the above suspension, you are to immediately suspend the operations of all Boeing B737 aircraft in your fleet.

“The Authority’s action is due to the several occurrences that involved your Boeing B737 aircraft as listed hereunder,” the letter signed by Director, Operations Training & Licensing, Captain Ibrahim Bello Dambazau, for Director General of Civil Aviation, Capt. Musa Nuhu, further reads.

The occurrences listed in the letter include the Loss of Number 1 Main Landing Gear (MLG) wheel during the serious incident involving a Boeing 737-400 aircraft, registration marks 5N-MBD which occurred between take-off at Yola Airport, Adamawa State and on landing at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria on May 7, 2023.

Another incident listed was “Fuel Contamination of the main fuel tanks of aircraft B737-300, Registration Marks; 5N-MHM, leading to the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) shutdown on ground at Yola Airport on the 7th of July, 2023”.

The third occurrence was the aborted take-off of a Boeing 737-400 aeroplane, registration mark 5N-MBD, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) on July 11, 2023, due to a high Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) indication.

Lastly, an air return by aircraft B737-300, Registration Marks; 5N-MHM to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) due to duct overheat indication in the cockpit on the 11th of July, 2023.

The NCAA announced the formation of a team of inspectors to conduct an audit of Max Air.

 

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