NSA Makes U-Turn Over Ban of Chopper Flying From Kaduna To Abuja

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The federal government has rescinded its decision to ban commercial helicopters shuttling between Abuja and Kaduna.

Babagana Monguno, national security adviser (NSA), had directed regulatory agencies not to allow commercial helicopters make use of Abuja airspace.

Citing security reasons, Monguno had said only flights with permission from the presidency should be allowed to use the airspace.‎

He said all the passengers making use of the Kaduna international airport as a result of the repairs of the runway of Abuja airport, should travel either by road or rail.

But on Wednesday, Haidi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, announced that the ban had been lifted and that the procedure for using the airspace will be released before the end of day.

Sirika disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.‎

“On the helicopter issue, the national security adviser has the constitutional responsibility vested on him by Mr President to advise the president on national security matters,” he said.

“Within his wisdom, he sent out letters banning the helicopters operation into the airport but the national security adviser had earlier this morning said that helicopters will of course continue to fly to Abuja airport from wherever.

“The procedure that they will use to approach the airport under landing spot will be advised accordingly before the end of today, which means that helicopters can come into Abuja and out bearing in mind that within the metropolitan city of Abuja, there are no fly zones, and this is very normal in every country.

He thanked Nigerians for cooperating with the government by using the Kaduna airport.

Sirika said one week is out of the six weeks period for the closure, expressing optimism that a lot would have been achieved when the the Abuja airport return to normal operations.

He said negotiations were ongoing for a Nigerian airline to fly to London daily in order to make up for the airlines that have rejected Kaduna.

Sirika said he met with the British ambassador to Nigeria on this issue.

He added that government was still trying to convince the foreign airlines that turned down Kaduna, appealing to them to take a cue from Ethiopian Airlines.

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