COVID-19: FG to investigate alleged breach of airport protocol by VIPs

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Thursday said the alleged breach of airport protocol by some dignitaries will be investigated.

Mr Sirika at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing said individuals without immunity found guilty are likely to be imprisoned for not less than two months.According to Mr Sirika, the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, the governor of Adamawa state, Ahmadu Fintiri, and the publisher of Thisday newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, were alleged to have flouted airport protocols.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had condemned the conduct of Messrs Yari and Fintiri in a series of tweets posted on Wednesday and Thursday on its official Twitter handle, @FAAN_Official.

Mr Fintiri allegedly refused to have his temperature checked and sanitised by health officials at the Port Harcourt International airport.

Mr Yari was alleged to have breached protocols at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport last week when he restricted an officer from the environment department from disinfecting his luggage.

Mr Obaigbena was also alleged to have flouted protocols at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.


Mr Sirika said the ministry has swung into prompt investigations and if found true, the identified persons will be punished as stipulated by the regulations of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“The ministry has received lots of inquiries regarding some unruly passengers.

“Those are being investigated and if found true, we will do the needful and if found untrue, we will definitely apologise to these individuals,” he said.

“I will like to go through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority regulations. There is a definition of an unruly passenger. There are unruly passengers and we have a protocol to deal with them.

“In part 17 (97) i: any passenger who becomes unruly at the airport terminal building or onboard a particular aircraft commits an offence. So, first, it is an offence. Part 17(97) ii further defines unruly and I will just choose two out of the many definitions. Fighting or other disorderly conduct on board of an aircraft or in the terminal building which means in the vicinity of an airport or inside an aircraft.

“Unruly behavior also means disobedience of lawful instructions issued by the aircraft commander which is the captain, or flight crew, cabin crew, cabin attendants, check-in staff, screening staff or any lawful staff on lawful duty at the airport.

“So, if you refuse their instructions, you have become an unruly passenger and an unruly passenger according to table 29(51) requires the punishment of criminal referral for imprisonment for not less than two months,” he said.

He urged VIPs to conduct themselves in the manner they want to be identified.