The Federal Government has reportedly banned private any private aircraft from flying into the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano State.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, which quoted the Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, the ban was for “security reasons”.
The Defence spokesman, however, declined to give further details as to the nature of the security concerns.
However, a source in the military, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said that the directive might not be unconnected with Sunday’s announcement of Lamido Sanusi as the new Emir of Kano.
“After the Emir was appointed, there were lots of protests from the group supporting the late Emir’s son. The security agencies must have felt that certain actions need to be taken”, the source said.
The coordinating spokesperson for Nigerian aviation parastatals, Yakubu Dati, said the military usually takes such decisions without recourse to the civil aviation authority especially when there are security concerns.
“We as an authority, we have not banned any plane from landing in Kano. You know there is civil aviation and there is also military aviation which supersedes ours”, Mr. Dati said.
“They don’t consult anybody. They just go ahead with their decision since it is about security”, he added.
The news of the ban came after Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, who was flying into MAKIA from Makurdi, Benue State on Monday morning, was denied clearance to land by the airport commander, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
On Sunday, it was learnt that the authorities grounded the aircraft chartered by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State in Kano after he and some other chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had visited the state on a condolence visit over the death of the late emir, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero.
Nasir El-Rufai, an APC chieftain, described the military’s action as a “hopeless persecution” of Mr. Sanusi, who he has often called ‘my brother’, by the Nigerian government.
“Is Nigeria under military rule or martial law allowing the violation of constitutional rights with such impunity”? Mr. El-Rufai asked in a post on his official Facebook page.
“When will the Jonathanians give up on this hopeless persecution of a good man? For how long will the Jonathanians continue to test the patience of our people and the citizens of Kano with this reckless impunity”? he added.