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Airport Protocols: Minister warns VIPs to behave and comply or risk going to jail


…..incidents involving Fintiri, Yari and Obaiegbuna to be investigated….

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has warned VIPs to carry themselves in an honorable manner and adhere to security and health protocols while at the airports or risk prosecution for failure to do so.

The punishment for the offence which is considered as criminal is not less than 2 months or could be 10 years.
This warning is coming on the heels of a former and current state governors and a newspaper publisher for refusing to follow security and health protocols at the nation’s airports.

Sirika during the daily briefing of the PTF on Covid-19 said, the behavior of the former governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, at the Kano airport, the current governor of Adamawa, Umaru Fintiri at the Port Harcourt and the Publisher of ThisDay Newspaper, Chief Emeka Obaiegbuna at the Abuja airport is condemnable, adding that their action would be viewed seriously.

“So FAAN has escalated what has transpired these alleged unruly passengers included the former governor of Zamfara state Alhaji Yari whom I spoke to yesterday at length, the current governor of Adamawa Ahmadu Fintiri , that of Abdulaziz was on Saturday in Kano and that of Fintiri is in Port Harcourt and Chief Nduka Obaiegbuna so alleged here in Abuja, now those are being investigated and if it is found that it was true, we would do the needful, if it is found untrue, we would definitely apologize to these individuals.”

The Minister said an investigation is to be launched into these incidents and if anyone was found guilty they would be made to face the law.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please, VIPs  show that you are a VIP by conducting yourself in the manner that you would want to be identified with, if you are found and you are caught, we have some videos on these unruly passengers, we will investigate and the punishment would be not less than 2 months of being criminally liable by the court of law, we mean business, we are very serious about this.”

He further went on to point out that they have cameras at all the airports to capture everything that happen at the airport with that the truth would be unravel.
“Certainly, we are equipped with cameras in our airports, we can pick everybody and I know also all the security agencies in the country have cameras in the airports, we will take it very seriously, we will investigate and once we find the guilty we would prosecute you.”

To justify the punishment to be melted out to anyone found guilty of any unruly behavior, the Minister quoted the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations in parts  regarding unruly behavior, its definition and the consequences of such action or behavior.

“However, I like to go through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, there is a definition of an unruly passenger, on this platform I said that there are unruly passenger and we have protocols and ways to deal with them. It goes to say in part 17,97(1) any passenger who becomes unruly at the airport terminal building or onboard a particular aircraft commits an offence, so first it is an offence, then part 17, 97 (2) furthers defines the word Unruly in the section the first two and is not limited to the following; I will just chose 2 out of the many; C- fighting or other disorderly conduct on board of an aircraft or in the terminal building which means in the vicinity of an airport or inside an aircraft then the E part; unruly behavior means according to E part, disobedience of lawful instructions issued by the aircraft commander which is the captain or flight crew that means any pilot or flight engineer, cabin crew, cabin attendants, check-in staff and or any security screening staff or any lawful staff on lawful duty at the airport, so if you refuse their instructions you have become an unruly passenger.”

“And an unruly passenger according to table 29 (51) an unruly passenger behavior requires the punishment of criminal referral for imprisonment for not less than 2 months, so it can be 10 years. The regulations says of not less than 2 months, it can be 10 years. So if you are found to be an unruly passenger because you are a big man, VIP, the simplest that we could do, the easiest, simplest thing that we could do is to refer you to the police and they must by law prosecute you regardless and it will be not less than 2 months and am sure you wouldn’t want to be a criminal for one day even for one second, no one want to be a criminal for one second.”

“Unfortunately, I say to myself the other day,  why me? Because Two weeks I became the Minister, two weeks in 2015, some unruly passengers crashed the protocols, went to the airside and prevented Turkish air from flying, I removed the airport terminal manager at that time and did quite a number of changes, issued some queries and so on and we cannot afford that. The security implication, the health implication, by the way airports are national security assets, these are borderless points we take them very seriously, the weight of responsibility of keeling airports safe either by health protocols or by our own security is definitely enormous, we are equal to the task, we will not allow it whoever is involved then we will deal with it.”


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