The Federal Government has confirmed that a number of private jets in the country are used to smuggle in illegal packages and cash in local and foreign currencies on daily basis in and out of the country.
It has thus insisted that pilots flying such jets must declare the passenger manifest before being allowed to take off as it also believed the private jets served as a means of escape for people declared wanted for crimes.
An aircraft manifest contains the names of all persons aboard the plane, among other things.
The Punch reports:
The Coordinating Information and Communications Manager for aviation parastatals, Mr. Yakubu Dati, told reporters in Lagos on Sunday that the order for the declaration of passenger manifest was necessary to check the abuse of the use of private and chartered jets.
He said for security reasons, especially the need to arrest those who had constituted security threats to the country, the government would not renege on its decision for pilots of private jets to file their manifests before being given Air Traffic Control clearance.
Dati said security operatives had disclosed that many wanted persons were being smuggled out of the country with private jets.
He also stated that some wanted persons were being sneaked into the country without appropriate checks as many private jets take off from private facilities at airports.
Aviation stakeholders as well as the Action Congress of Nigeria had, however, severely criticised the policy, saying most of its provisions were not obtainable in any other part of the world.