FG pardons airline that flew Naira Marley during lockdown

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Naira Marley

The Federal Government on Monday lifted the ban on Executive Jet Services and announced that the report on the breach of COVID-19 protocols by some very important personalities at airports would be ready this week.

On June 15, 2020, the government suspended the operations of the charter and aircraft maintenance firm for flying a musician, Azeez Fashola, aka, Naira Marley, from Lagos to Abuja to attend a concert.

It had explained that the aircraft operated by Executive Jet which conveyed the musician was supposed to fly an Appeal Court judge but was eventually used to ferry the musician.

Responding to questions at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the ban was lifted on Monday after the airline paid all the fines it was mandated to pay.

He said, “So we’ve lifted the ban today and they are now permitted to continue to do their business as these things are not punitive. They are things to make our industry work better and keep all of you safe.”

On investigations into the alleged breach of COVID-19 protocols at airports by some VIPs, the minister said he would make the government’s findings public once he got the report.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 guidelines: FCT minister vows to prosecute Naira Marley, others

“As for the VIP offenders, the report will be on my desk this week. Hopefully, I will keep you posted,” Sirika said.

The minister expressed hopes that the aviation sector would bounce back from the harsh impact of COVID-19.

He explained that the sector had survived a series of meltdowns in the past and would definitely survive the devastation caused by COVID-19.

On the call for the resumption of international flights, the minister said a National Air Transport Facilitation Committee had been established to look into the matter.

He said the committee had members from the Ministries of Aviation, Foreign Affairs, Health, Culture and Tourism.

Others include officials from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the police, immigration, Customs, among others.

Sirika said members of the committee would meet on Tuesday to further discuss the protocols required before the reopening of airports to international flights.

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