Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has again said the check on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s aircraft at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja on Sunday, is in line with international aviation best practices.
Sirika said this in Abuja on Monday in a statement by Mr James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation (Aviation).
He also said that his earlier statement on the issue was not driven by any political consideration, as being wrongly interpreted by a section of Nigerians.
The minister explained that the statement was informed by professional and industry practice as regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
According to him, it should be noted that such checks as carried out on the former Vice President’s aircraft are mandatory and routine, and that no one is exempted, except the President, Vice-President and visiting Presidents.
“According to the National Civil Aviation Security Programme, exemption from the primary inspection and screening process at the airport central screening points are extended to the following persons when traveling on official business: Visiting Head of State and entourage, the President and entourage, and the Vice President and entourage.
“The ICAO security programme also requires that ministers and senior government officials are screened in the same manner as other passengers as they are expected to set examples for the traveling public and to the aviation security officials responsible for screening passengers.
“It is a routine practice that all incoming aircraft and passengers on international flights must go through customs, immigration, health, security and money laundering checks.
“The general public is therefore assured that the ministry and its agencies would always accord the desired respect to the nation’s leaders, just as they are committed to ensuring the entrenchment of safety and security at the nation’s airports without political considerations,” he said.