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FG probes gov, ex-gov, publisher for flouting COVID-19 protocol at airports


The Federal Government says it is probing the Publisher of Thisday Newspapers, Nduka Obaigbena; Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State; and the immediate past Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, for allegedly flouting the Covid-19 guidelines at airports.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this during the briefing of the Presidential Task on Covid-19 on Thursday.
Sirika said if they are found not culpable after investigation, the government would apologize to them.

He said, “These alleged unruly passengers included the former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, whom I spoke to yesterday at length; the current Governor of Adamawa, Ahmadu Fintiri. Mind you, that of Abdul’aziz (Yari) was on Saturday in Kano; that of Fintiri was in Port Harcourt; and then Chief Nduka Obaigbena was also alleged (sic) here in Abuja.

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“These are all under investigation and if it was found to be true, we would do the needful. If it is found to be untrue, we will definitely apologize to these individuals.”

The minister said the government would not condone any acts of recklessness at the airports.
He said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations state how unruly behavior should be addressed at the airports.
Sirika said Part 17, Section 97(2), defines unruly behavior as fighting or other disorderly conduct on board an aircraft or within the vicinity of the airports.

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He noted that disobedience to lawful instructions issued by the captain or flight crew, cabin crew, check-in or security screening staff was also a criminal offense.

“If you refuse their instructions, you have become an unruly passenger,” the minister said.

Sirika advised VIPs to comport themselves or risk being prosecuted and sent to jail.

The minister added, “It (the law) recommends the punishment of criminal referral for imprisonment for not less than two months. It can be 10 years. So, if you are found to be an unruly passenger because you are a VIP, the simplest thing we can do is to refer you to the police and they must by law prosecute you and it will not be for less than two months. Nobody wants to be a criminal for one minute

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“So, if you are a VIP, show you are a VIP by conducting yourself in a manner you want to be identified with. We have some videos of these unruly passengers and the punishment will not be less than two months if found liable by a court of law.”