Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said all incoming passengers on international flights go through customs, Immìgration, health and security screening, in response to the alleged harassment of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on arrival at the Abuja airport on Sunday.
” 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.
” This is a mischievous attempt to grab the headlines. Nigerians need to know that one of the resolutions of the Atiku team at their recently-concluded, opulently-held Dubai retreat was to embark on scaremongering. This is one of such, said a statement signed by the minister.
” 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.
” 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.
Meanwhile, Senator Shehu Sani on Sunday evening condemned the acts on his twitter page.
” The overzealous acts of the security personnel at the Abuja Airport against the former Vice President Atiku stands outrightly condemned, the Kaduna senator said.
” We have been through this in our history.Intimidation and harassment camouflaged as routine.The FG should be humble and apologize to him.