Nigeria: Security Operatives Bar Planes From Flying Passengers In Borno
…As 278 Saudi Pilgrims Travel To Kano By Road
…Ndume, Biye Also Stopped From Flying To Abuja
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, June 27, (THEWILL) - The Emergency Rule declared in three Northeastern States took its toll on a group of Borno pilgrims Friday as they were stopped from travelling by air from the Maiduguri International Airport by security operatives.
The contigent, numbering 278 , was forced to travel by road from Maiduguri to Kano from where they were to be airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj.
Also affected by the 'order from above' was the former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives and senator presently representing Borno Central at the National Assembly, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who was stopped from travelling in a chartered flight from the Borno State capital, despite efforts by Governor Kashim Shettima to persuade the military to rescind its decision.
A chartered aircraft from Max Airline engaged by Skynet International Limited had arrived Maiduguri Airport to convey the 278 intending pilgrims who were on queue to board but were stopped from embarking on the plane.
The intending pilgrims were therefore forced to travel seven hours by road despite the dangers and numerous military checkpoints to Kano to connect another flight to Saudi.
In the same manner, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume alongside a serving member of House of Representatives, representing Gwoza, Chibok, Damboa Federal Constituency, Hon. Peter Biye, were stopped from boarding a chartered aircraft which had earlier brought some Borno officials from Abuja.
The plane was forced to return empty, leaving behind all eight persons, including the two lawmakers scheduled to board the flight from Maiduguri to Abuja.
The Maiduguri Airport has been officially opened some months ago by the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency after it was closed when Boko Haram attacked the Air Force Base near the airport.
At the request of NAMA, the Borno State Government had donated high powered electricity generator along with other facilities for installation at the airport to boost security.
Since January, planes have been landing and taking off from the airport without any incident until the order from the military on Friday.