The federal government says it will penalise foreign airlines selling tickets to Nigerians in dollars, insisting that such practice is a violation of Nigerian laws.
Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, disclosed this to state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.
According to Sirika, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had been instructed to swing into action by protecting the interest of Nigerians against reported airlines’ operations malpractices, warning that no violator, no matter how highly placed, would be spared if caught in violation.
According to him, findings at the government’s disposal, revealed that some of the airlines are refusing naira and charging their ticket fares in dollars in violation of the country’s laws, while some others have blocked local travel agencies from accessing their websites for transactions, choosing to release expensive tickets.
“I want to use this opportunity to say that reports are reaching us that some of the airlines are refusing to sell tickets in naira. That is a violation of our local laws, they will not be allowed. The high and the mighty amongst them will be sanctioned if they’re caught doing that,” Sirika said.
“NCAA had been directed to swing into action and once we find any airline violating this, we will definitely deal with them. Also, they blocked the travel agents from access. They also made only the expensive tickets available and so on and so forth.
“Our regulators are not sleeping, we have a very vibrant Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Once they found any airline guilty, that airline will be dealt with because we need to protect our people. It is according to our agreements, to what we have signed and this is according to international convention.
“So going forward, they should desist from doing things that are outside of the law. They should also desist from writing to us and putting things on social media. They should go through diplomatic channels if they want a response from the federal government.”