Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha
The House Committee on Aviation has summoned the management of four foreign airline operating in Nigeria. The aviation firms were summoned following allegations that they were barred from landing at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The airlines summoned include, Turkish Airline, Ethiopia Airline, Emirates Airline and Asky Airline.
Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, issued the summon at a meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
Onyejeocha explained that the invitation became necessary because of the controversy surrounding the alleged discrimination against the airlines.
She said since there were conflicting claims from both parties in the dispute there was need for the airlines to present their position on the issue.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Ms Anne Ene-Ita, had at the session debunked the allegations of discrimination and insisted that none of the airlines have been restricted from operating from Kano.
She said there were usually procedures to be followed before airlines could land at airports.
According to her, apart from signing the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the airline’s country of origin the airlines, there were some other procedures which airline ought to follow.
She also said that some airlines withdrew voluntarily from Kano Airport on the grounds that the route was not economically viable.
But, Hon. Aliyu Madaki, a lawmaker who brought the allegations before the House equally insisted that the allegations were true.
Madaki also tendered correspondences purportedly between the airlines and the Ministry of Aviation to substantiate his claims.
Ene-Itah however questioned the authenticity of some of the documents.
The House had last week ordered a probe into allegations following a motion sponsored by Hon. Aliyu Madaki, representing Dala Federal Constituency of Kano State.
In the lead debate, Madaki alleged that in spite of the preparedness of the aforementioned airlines to extend their commercial operations to Kano, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah had vehemently refused to grant them permission to land at the Mallam Aminu International Airport, Kano.
Madaki noted that apart from being the first airport built in Nigeria, the Kano Airport has been an important commercial hub in sub-Saharan Africa with a lot of air travellers.
He said that barring these airlines from landing at Kano does not encourage international businessmen and women who desire to invest in the northern part of the country to invest in the Nigerian economy.
He described the policy of the Federal Ministry of Aviation which bars certain airlines from landing at certain airports as discriminatory, adding that there was an urgent need to review it.
“The choice of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport by these international airlines was informed by the number of passengers that they get from Kano travelling to other parts of the world.
“We are disturbed that the refusal by the Minister to grant permission to these foreign airlines is capable of retarding the business growth in Kano and by implication, Nigeria,” he said.