26 September 2012

Nigeria: Arik Air Bars FAAN Boss, Others From Its Flights

Photo: Leadership
Arik Air

Nigeria's biggest airline, Arik Air, Tuesday identified some prospective passengers it barred from all its flights.

Leading the pack was the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi.

While other prospective passengers were barred from the airline flights for reasons ranging from security and insubordination, Uriesi's blacklisting was simply explained as "management decision."

THISDAY gathered that the decision might not be unconnected with the running battle between the airline and FAAN, which the agency accused of owing it over N7 billion, an amount the airline defiantly denied and insisted that it had been paying the Authority and only owed it over N1 billion.

Last week, Arik Air stopped its services for three days when its operation was picketed by the aviation workers under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), demanding that the airline paid its debts to the agency.

But Arik Air spokesman, Adebanji Ola, denied that the FAAN Managing Director's name was included in the list and explained that the names that were blacklisted include those who have security issues and others who violated the rules or physically molested the airline's crew.

"I am sure that the Managing Director of FAAN was not blacklisted. We blacklist those who constitute security threats and we work with security operatives and these include those who destroy our equipment and abuse our staff; those who stole in our aircraft," Ola explained.

The total number of the prospective passengers blacklisted by the airline was 22 and these include Somalians, Moulim Boubacai, Moussa Baba and Al Laranma Ibrahim who were "reported terrorist (s) by the security agencies that they are posing threats against airlines in Nigeria."

There was also one Mohammed Murtada Awad Alla Hamad, Sudanese/British who was described as "holding British passport that is no longer valid..." the passport number was quoted in the document made available to THISDAY.

Varsame Ahmed Adbulkadir, who was also described as Sudanese/stateless, was in the blacklisted list because he was reported as persona non grata by UK authorities.

Others include a woman who was barred from the airline for beating up one of Arik Air staff and one of the former staff of the airline who was barred because he was involved in bank fraud

All the blacklisted persons were banned permanently from any of the airline's flights.

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