Atiku: Allegation Against Security Agents Mischievous – Aviation Minister

The Federal Government Sunday night said those insinuating that strange objects were hidden inside the private jet belonging to Atiku Abubakar in order to incriminate him are mischievous.
This is as Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said that all incoming passengers on international flights go through security screening.
There was an allegation that some government agents tried to secretly hide incriminating object inside the private jet belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Presidential candidate in the 2019 election, former Vice President Atiku at the airport.
But Sirika said the allegation against security agents at the airport was mischievous.
The Minister in a statement in Abuja Sunday said: “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.
“For the records, all incoming passengers on international flights go through customs, immìgration, health and security screening.
“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.
“It is also important to state that even in the presidential Wing of the airport the President of Nigeria uses, there is the presence of immìgration and other security officials who must stamp his or her passport on arrival.
“By standard procedure, all aircraft on international arrivals must first of all park at the international wing of the aircraft. They can move to the domestic terminal only upon the completion of the arrival processes.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Atiku said that security agents at the international airport in Abuja harassed him shortly after arriving in the country from a foreign trip.
Abubakar has been away in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates capital, since mid-October when he proceeded on a vacation days after emerging victorious at the national convention of the PDP, Nigeria’s main opposition party.
“I arrived to Abuja this morning to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff,” Abubakar said on his Twitter handle shortly before 4:00 p.m. Sunday. “I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them.”
Abubakar did not immediately say which security agencies were responsible for the search he found objectionable, but immigration officials, State Security Service and the police are usually found at the airport for such searches.
He also did not say whether or not the security personnel raised any issues during or after conducting their search.
The former Vice President has held ‘strategic meetings’ in Dubai as part of his preparation for the campaign season, which is expected to open in a few weeks.
The meetings, reportedly involving officials such as Senate President Bukola Saraki and the party’s national chairman Uche Secondus, have elicited concerns from the ruling All Progressives Congress. The party said Mr Abubakar’s political meetings outside Nigerian shores had sinister undertone, calling on security agencies to investigate.
The PDP reportedly rejected the APC’s characterisation of its candidate’s meetings abroad, saying the ruling party was becoming increasingly nervous amidst indications it may lose at the general elections next February.
Bola Tinubu, an APC leader, however, said Abubakar has a right to hold political talks anywhere he desired, but dismissed claims the ruling party was afraid of defeat in 2019.

Author: News Editor

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