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FG impounds British plane for breaking COVID-19 flight ban rules

Federal government impounded a plane operated by a British company for allegedly contravening a flight ban the country imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the aviation minister said on Sunday.

Passenger flights into the country, with the exception of ones to evacuate people or repatriate Nigerian citizens, have been banned for weeks. The ban will remain in place until at least June 4.

Flights for essential services, such as the delivery of food supplies and items for humanitarian use, are permitted.

Read more: The new push for Ajaokuta

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Twitter on Sunday that a plane had been impounded after the rules were broken.

Sirika said a UK company had been given approval for humanitarian operations but had been caught conducting commercial flights.

The aircraft was impounded, the crew was interrogated and a maximum penalty would be imposed, the tweet said. 

James Oduadu, an aviation ministry spokesman, later told Reuters the plane was operated by FlairJet, a British private charter company that is an affiliate of Flexjet.

“We are continuing to respectfully work with the Nigerian authorities to resolve this situation,” FlairJet said in a statement.

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