Agbakoba proposes bill to check excesses
CONFERENCE of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has called on the National Assembly to act decisively on the recent revelations in the aviation industry, while also applying sanctions that would end the exploitation of Nigerians by airlines operators.
Besides, the CNPP, which reacted to the adoption of a motion by the Senate on the violation of aviation laws and practice by foreign airlines in Nigeria, sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma and 28 others, said the National Assembly must also take action on
other areas where foreign nationals and companies exploit Nigerians.
Meanwhile, popular lawyer, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, has lauded the “recent ultimatum given to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and all international airlines operating in the country to dismantle the regional fare imbalance between what Nigerian passengers pay for international flights and their counterparts in the West African sub-region or face a ban from operating in Nigeria as a step in the right direction.” He said he had forwarded a Fly Nigeria Bill to the National Assembly that will check the excesses of the foreign airlines.
In a statement by the Conference’s Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu in Kaduna yesterday, CNPP also urged the National Assembly to live up to its responsibility in further identifying aviation legislations that require amendment “to prevent the kind of criminality that foreign airlines and businesses commit in Nigeria in the name of doing business.”
The group stated: “On the short term, the Senate should investigate the circumstances that allowed British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to escape the fines slammed on them by Nigerian authorities. We have a feeling that there were shady dealings on the Nigerian side. The comments by the Senate President David Mark that our regulatory agencies have done absolutely nothing and that they are part of the problem by colluding with the airlines, is enough wake up call.”
According to CNPP, the discriminatory pricing between Nigeria and Ghana has served to further undermine Nigeria’s economy, as people would naturally seek out places where they can get lower fares.
In a statement, Agbakoba said: “While we agree with the Minister of Aviation that Nigerian passengers do not deserve this kind of exploitation and commend the actions of the Federal Government, we encourage the government to take a further step and introduce a policy dissuading Nigerians from flying these international airlines through the passage of the Fly Nigeria Bill. The Fly Nigeria Bill will ensure that all federal employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others performing government financed foreign trips travel by Nigerian air carriers. A lot of the passengers who fly these international airlines fall into this category.”
According to him, passage of the Fly Nigeria Bill will utilise market forces to trap and keep these resource flights within Nigerian airlines without necessarily hampering Nigeria’s international aviation obligations in the long run.