Aviation Minister denies marginalising Northern Nigeria

Kano Airport

The minister explained that airlines are at liberty to maximise bilateral agreements.

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah-Ogiemwony, has denied allegations that she is deliberately sidelining Northern Nigeria in the citing of cargo terminals; and preventing foreign airlines the landing rights into the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

The media aide to the minister, Joe Obi, in a statement released on Thursday described the allegations as “misleading and deliberate falsehood.”

The statement explained that Emirate and Etihad, the two airlines alleged to have been refused landing rights, by virtue of a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between their countries of origin, United Arab Emirate (UAE) and Nigeria has the right to operate flights into Lagos, Abuja and Kano International Airports.

“It is therefore inconceivable that anyone, including the Aviation Minister would unilaterally deny them the rights and privileges already conferred by the BASA,” Mr. Obi said.

According to the statement, foreign airlines, such as Ethiopian and Turkish Airways, have also not indicated any intentions to use the Kano airport as provided in the BASA with their countries of origin.

In a telephone chart with Premium Times, Mr Obi said apparently the airlines “are not ready to go there” because “they have never applied to go to Kano”.

The statement also denied the existence of a foreign airline called Skyline Limited also allegedly prevented from using the MAKIA.

On the allegation that the minister has only appointed southerners as head of agencies under the ministry since her appointment, Mr Obi says he is unaware of that. However, he said after a recent restructuring in the ministry, “the south is the least represented region in the ministry.”

“All these stories are cooked up by politicians,” he said.

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