The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has described the invasion of its office at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos by officers of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as a violation of the cooperation that exists among government agencies.
Saying that it is unacceptable, NAMA argued “we are not a private entity that would want to evade duties. We are a government-owned entity that is guided by the financial regulations of government on procedures that should be followed, which we were already going through before the invasion”.
Spokesman of the agency, Supo Atobatele said the action of holding officials of NAMA hostage was embarrassing and uncivilised, questioning rationale behind the invasion of another government agency like theirs, when they know there are procedures to be followed in settling bills between government and inter-ministerial departments.
Officials of the Nigerian Customs Service at the Murtala Mohammed Airport command had last week, invaded the premises of NAMA, claiming they were sent by their comptroller, Mr. Adewole, over N19 million import duties due on the importation by NAMA.
The amount was for some World Geodetic Survey (WGS 84) equipment meant for preparation of the country’s movement from the terrestrial navigation to satellite based navigation.
The armed customs men allegedly harassed NAMA officials and they eventually got hold of one of general managers of the agency, Mr. M.K. Jimoh, whom they held for several minutes before he was released following the intervention of the management, who explained that the process for payment of the duties was in progress.
Meanwhile, IRS Airlines is set to begin daily flight operations to Port Harcourt and Sokoto, which would bring to nine the number of destinations the airline serves.
Other routes include Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Maiduguri, Yola and Gombe, said its Managing Director, Mr. Yemi Dada.
Mr. Dada noted that it is in line with their new slogan “now you can go places”, adding that the airline would operate flights to more routes as the fleet size increases and some of the planned routes include flights to Uyo, Owerri, Asaba, Enugu and Benin.
He said passengers can log onto its online www.flyirsairlines.com to book and pay online with an interswitch verve, explaining that MasterCard, visa, e-transact cards on passengers can hold their bookings for 14 hours and pay into designated Zenith Bank branches, with an IRS Airlines teller and get a reference code.