FG Considers Reopening Of Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt Airports – Minister

A file photo of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

 

Nigerian authorities are considering the reopening of three international airports in the country, said the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The affected aviation facilities are the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano State, the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu State, and the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State.

In his remarks on Monday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the minister noted that the Federal Government planned to resume international flight operations at the airports.

According to Sirika, members of the task force will be visiting the airports for simulation exercises to ascertain their readiness for international operations.

He stated that a technical working group comprising relevant agencies involved in the facilitation of passengers had been set up to ensure that all standards required for seamless operations at the airports earmarked for the resumption of international flights were in place.

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The minister also announced the immediate resumption of catering services on domestic flights which were suspended at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained that the decision was taken into consideration of the businesses involved in the provision of in-flight refreshments which have been adversely affected by the suspension.

Sirika, however, said that modalities and protocols for the resumption of the services would be worked and rolled out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which would be in line with international practices.

On the suspension of Emirates Airlines operations in Nigeria, he noted that discussions were ongoing to resolve the issues involved.

The minister also restated the country’s position on the impropriety of the extra COVID-19 tests the airline was demanding of Nigerian travellers.

He insisted that operations of the Emirates Airlines in and out of the country remained suspended, with the exemption of Cargo and Humanitarian flights.

NDLEA Seizes 200KG Of Hard Drugs At Lagos, Abuja, Kano Airports

A picture released by the NDLEA on March 21, 2021 shows substance tested to be cocaine concealed in dry local pepper.

 

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted 200 kilogrammes of illicit substances from suspected traffickers at three airports.

The defiant traffickers had attempted to export the hard drugs through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, the spokesperson for the agency, Femi Babafemi, said in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

At the Lagos airport, 41-year-old Adewuyi Olayinka was arrested while trying to export 650 grammes of cocaine wrapped in two parcels to the United Kingdom through the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA cargo in Ikeja.

The NDLEA Commander at MMIA Command, Ahmadu Garba, explained that the drug was concealed in dry local pepper and herbal concoction.

In this picture released by the NDLEA on March 21, 2021, substance tested to be hard drug is hidden in a bottle of herbal concoction.

 

Elsewhere, 107 kilogrammes of hard drug suspected to be khat was seized at the cargo shed of the Kano Airport while being exported to Canada.

According to the Acting NDLEA Commander at the airport, Mohammed Ajiya, the drug was concealed in golden colour nylon bags covered with textile materials and labelled tea, to deceive and mislead the operatives.

“The so-called tea arose the suspicion of officers at the cargo shed who insisted that it must be subjected to laboratory analysis and test before it will be allowed to go, because the so-called tea came from Lagos by road to Kano and our operatives wondered why the owner did not ship it via Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.

“Hence, the reason the shipment was delayed until the sample was taken and sent to our forensic lab for analysis; the result came out positive for khat, it has since been seized and is now in our custody,” Ajiya said.

A picture released by the NDLEA on March 21, 2021, shows substance tested to be hard drug concealed in a sack of dried moringa leaves.

 

In the nation’s capital, NDLEA operatives foiled an attempt by a suspected trafficker to export 92.250 kilogrammes of khat via Turkish Air through the cargo warehouse at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Kabir Sani Tsakuwa, who is the NDLEA Commander at the Abuja Airport, noted that the hard drug packed in six cartoons was heading to Goussainville in France.

He said the clearing agent processing the consignment for export claimed the cargo was dried moringa leaves as stated in the airway bill but upon laboratory tests, it turned out to be hard drug.

In his reaction, the Chairman of the anti-drug agency, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, commended the commanders and operatives of the three international airports for their vigilance and efforts to secure Nigerians and citizens of destination countries from the menace of illicit drugs.

FG To Speed Up Efforts For International Flights Resumption At Kano Airport, Says Sirika

A file photo of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

 

All that is necessary for the resumption of international flight operations at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano will be fast-tracked, the Federal Government has said.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the assurance on Tuesday when he received a high-powered delegation from Kano State, led by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje at his office in Abuja.

He stated that the ministry was willing to reopen the airport for international flight operations, saying the continued suspension of international flights to and from the airport was denying the Federal Government and its agencies a lot of revenue.

According to Sirika, it does not make economic sense for the government to spend so much money as it has done in the airport and just decide to leave it inoperative with the attendant degeneration on infrastructure, redundancy amongst operational staff, revenue losses, and hardship to travellers, among other challenges.

He, however, explained that the decision to suspend international flights to and from the airport, like the ones in Enugu and Port Harcourt, was for health and security reasons.

The Minister acknowledged the hardship to the users of the airport, passengers, and service providers alike, and challenged Kano indigenes to create activities that would make the airport more viable through increased passenger traffic.

A file photo of Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

 

In his remarks, Governor Ganduje had informed the minister that the delegation embarked on the visit for two reasons.

The first, he noted, was to show appreciation to the Federal Government for the completion of the International Wing of the airport, and secondly to appeal for the resumption of international flight operations at the aviation facility.

The governor was concern about the effect of the continued suspension of international flights to and from the airport by passengers and service providers.

He stated that the Kano State government has put in place all that was necessary to make the state healthy for flights, including the mobilisation of the populace for the COVID-19 vaccination exercise.

The delegation on the visit to the minister included some members of the Kano State House of Assembly, representatives of the Emir of Kano, and members of the Kano Chamber of Commerce.

Private Operators To Manage Lagos Airport, Three Others

Lagos AirportThe federal government has announced plans to concession four major airports as part of efforts to develop and secure the aviation sector and diversify the nation’s economy.

Addressing aviation industry players ‎in Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, announced that the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt will be managed by private sector operators.

He also announced plans by the federal government to establish aviation development bank and an aviation university to provide funding and quality technical manpower for the industry.

It was the first aviation stakeholders’ forum since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari came on board.

The Minister reiterated the commitment of the federal government to fast track the development of the sector through public private partnership.

He used the occasion to announce the streamlining of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the creation of employment opportunities for Nigerian pilots.

Although the presentation of the Minister received an applause from the stakeholders, some of them expressed concerns about the activities of some agencies under the ministry.

Others appealed to the federal government to urgently address the challenges being faced in the industry.

The one day forum which attracted airline operators, pilots and captains of the aviation industry is aimed at strengthening the sector towards efficient service delivery.

Plane Carrying Arms Intercepted In Kano

PlaneA Russian aircraft loaded with military arms and ammunition has been held at the Malam Aminu International Airport in Kano.

The plane en-route to N’Djamena, the capital of the Republic of Chad was apprehended at the early hours of Saturday.

According to sources close to the airport security in Kano, the plane’s cabin crew are currently detained for questioning.

Efforts to speak with officials at the airport was not successful, but eyewitnesses said the planes landed around 2:00am local time on Saturday and were surrounded by officers of the Nigeria Air Force.

Last week, however, the Nigerian government had said it is looking to buy arms from Russia to boost military efforts in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

The decision was made after several rejected appeals to the US and UK for weapons and helicopter gunships to fight Boko Haram.

Reports released on Monday by Damina Advicers, a global political risk consulting firm gave the indication.

The report says Russia is eager to increase its leverage over other major oil producers, and find new markets for its sanctioned local arms manufacturers.

It says the Russian government has in recent weeks engaged in talks over a multi-billion dollar arms deal and technical advisory mission to help the Nigerian army defeat the insurgents.

It is not clear what the arms in the seized aircraft are meant for.