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Why Atiku’s plane was searched – Sirika

Why Atiku’s plane was searched – Sirika

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“Law-abiding citizens are encouraged to respect the laws of the country and our VIPs should not seek to be treated over and above the citizens they wish to serve”, Sirika said.

Uche Usim, Abuja

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika on Sunday gave explanations as to why the People’s Democratic Party’s Presidential flag bearer Atiku Abubakar’s jet was searched on landing at Abuja Airport from Dubai.

READ ALSO: 2019: Nigerians have tested Buhari And Atiku, what’s left is free election – Hon. Ugo Chima, First Republic Lawmaker

The top politician had complained about the development which he viewed as undue harassment. However, Sirika in statement described the claims as a mischievous attempt to grab headlines.

“For the records, all incoming passengers on international flights go through customs, Immìgration, health and security screening.

“Where the aircraft is using the private, charter wing, as the PDP Candidate did, such arrivals are met by a team of the Immìgration, customs and other security agencies. They go to the arriving aircraft as a team. The airport authorities confirm that this is a routine process, applying to all international arrivals, including the minister unless the passenger is the President of Nigeria. The President, the Vice President and passengers aboard planes on the Presidential air fleet use the Presidential wing of the airport.”

Sirika added that even in the Presidential Wing of the airport the President of Nigeria uses, there is the presence of Immigration and other security officials who must stamp his or her passport on arrival.

“By standard procedure, all aircraft on international arrivals must first of all park at the international wing of the aircraft. They can move to the domestic terminal only upon the completion of the arrival processes.

“While it is true that the Task Force on Currency at the airport did the routine action of checking the former Vice President’s travel bag, he was accorded full respect as a senior citizen.

“These checks are mandatory, conventional, internationally applied and routine. No one is excused from them under our laws. These checks are carried out on all international arrivals and President Buhari does not get involved in them.

“Law-abiding citizens are encouraged to respect the laws of the country and our VIPs should not seek to be treated over and above the citizens they wish to serve”, Sirika said.

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