Sirika reacts to Atiku’s search, says ‘Airport Officials Did Routine Checks’

By Oru Leonard
Minister of State for  Aviation ,Hadi Sirika, has reacted to the search on  the Former Vice President and PDP presidential  candidate, Atiku Abubabar, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja, as a routine process for all arrivals and not an act of intimidation.
The Minister said this while reacting to a tweet from Former Vice President Atiku who claimed that on arrival from Dubai security agents of the state searched him at the Airport to intimidate him and his staff.
Senator Sirika wrote in a press statement that 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, Sirika wrote in a  press statement issued yesterday described Mr Atiku Abubakar’s claim as a mischievous attempt to grab the headlines.
“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,” he said.
The Minister noted that 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.
He encouraged citizens to respect the laws of the country and advised  VIPs not to seek to be treated over and above the citizens they wish to serve.
Mr Abubakar, who arrived Nigeria on Sunday, mentioned on Twitter that he was searched by officials of the Airport .
On his tweeter account : Atiku said “I arrived to Abuja this morning to a search by agents of the state, aimed at intimidating me and my staff,”
“I am committed to building a Nigeria where no citizen is intimidated by agents of state who are paid to protect them”.
The opposition presidential candidate did not elaborate on the search.

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