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N255m car scandal: Airlines stop payment of charges

By The Citizen

Domestic airlines have announced that they will no longer remit charges to aviation agencies until the sector is rid of corruption.

The carriers, under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, said the decision took effect from November 1, 2013.

In a statement on Sunday, the spokesman of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, complained that heavy charges were being imposed on the airline operators by the aviation agencies.

He added that despite this, there was a lot of corruption in the system, citing the latest armoured car scandal involving the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah.

Tukur said, 'Due to the ongoing crisis, we have resolved to stop all remittances payable to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other relevant aviation bodies, as the numerous charges have the potential to cripple our operations.

'This will continue pending the time they reform or come clean on the taxes and charges they have collected, which ran into several billions of naira in a couple of years. They also need a reform to comply with the global practices and standards.

'The suspension of payment of taxes and charges took effect from November 1, 2013, and we call on the Federal Government and all concerned to set up an investigative panel to resolve these anomalies.'

The aviation industry hasĀ  lately been embroiled in controversy over the propriety of new tariffs imposed by the NCAA on non-scheduled commercial airline operators among other charges that have made it difficult for them to cope.

Tukur added that the airlines were in dire straits occasioned by the imposition of security charges, landing and parking charges, remittance of five per cent taxes on every ticket sold, fuel tax, multiple navigational charges, airport taxes, and expensive office spaces, among others.

The carriers expressed disappointment with the obsolete infrastructure at the nation's airports and the malfunctioning navigational tools, which they said had contributed to numerous crashes in Nigeria.

Tukur said the association was studying the involvement of two of its members in the reported bulletproof car scandal, noting that they might be sanctioned if found culpable.