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The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika has debunked insinuations that the checks conducted by security operatives on the aircraft belonging to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was politically motivated
He said the security checks were misinterpreted as having political undertone, when actually it was a case of professional and industry practice as regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
A statement by the Director of Press and Publicity in the ministry, James Odaudu, stated: “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.
“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 travelling 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,” the statement read in part.
Sirika, in a post on his twitter handle @hadisirika, had described Atiku’s claim as a “mischievous attempt to grab the headlines.”
He said Nigerians needed to know that “one of the resolutions of the Atiku team at their recently-concluded Dubai retreat was to embark on scaremongering. This is one of such.”