The Federal Government of Nigeria Monday lifted the ban placed on the Executive Jets Air Services for violating the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)-induced lockdown order.
The private airline was suspended indefinitely on June 16 by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for operating a controversial flight, conveying Nigerian popular musician, Azeez Fashola, otherwise called Naira Marley, and ex-BB Naija housemate, Kim Oprah, from Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos for a concert.
The flight was said to have been approved for a different purpose at that time to convey a serving judge on official assignment from Lagos to Abuja and back to Lagos.
Disclosing the lifting of the suspension order during the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing, Sirika explained that the Muhammadu Buhari administration decided to lift the ban following the compliance of the airline with sanctions imposed on it.
“Today, we lifted the ban on Executive Jets Air Services Limited. The firm has complied substantially with all of our imposed sanctions.
“The airline has paid parts of the fine and brought forward a payment plan for the balance. So, we have lifted the ban and the airline will continue to do its business. These kind of things are not punitive, they are things to make our industry work better and keep all of you safe,” the minister said.
Sirika added that he has not received the report of the investigation into alleged violations of the COVID-19 protocols by dignitaries who have been alleged to violate COVID-19 safety protocols at airports.
Some Nigerians including serving and former governors among others have been accused of violating COVID-19 safety protocols and the ban on air travels using private and official planes.
“As to the VIP offenders which are undergoing investigation, the report will be on my desk this week hopefully and we will keep Nigerians posted,” Sirika assured.
By Idowu Sowunmi