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Nigeria-Niger Republic flights remain suspended, FG insists - PUNCH

FEBRUARY 07, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency has aid the ban on flights between Nigeria and Niger Republic persists.

NAMA clarified that authorised exemptions to the ban include over-flight aircraft traversing Nigerian airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights.

On July 26, 2023, Nigerien military junta ousted its duly elected President, Mohamed Bazoum in a coup and replaced him with General Abdourrahamane Tchiani.

As a result, the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS closed land their borders with the Niger Republic and declared it a “No-Fly Zone.”

However, a statement on Tuesday by the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NAMA, Abdullahi Musa, recalled that following the coup d’état, the Economic Community of West African States convened an extraordinary summit to address the situation.

Among the resolutions adopted during the summit was the closure of ECOWAS member states land and air borders with Niger, along with the establishment of a no-fly zone for all commercial flights to and from Niger.

Musa added that in retaliation, the Niger government suspended flights into Nigeria and overflying planes.

The statement noted that on August 2, 2023, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development directed NAMA to issue a Notice to Airmen enforcing the no-fly zone on all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria.

“The statement read in part, “As of 0600 UTC on August 3, 2023, aircraft departing from or arriving at aerodromes within the Niamey Flight Information Region (FIR-Nigerien Airspace) were prohibited from entering Kano FIR until further notice.

“Following standard procedures, the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) transitioned into an Aeronautical Information Circular, AIC, on January 29, 2024. The AIC reiterated the suspension of all commercial flights between Niger and Nigeria, as well as flights overflying Nigeria to Niger.

“However, certain exemptions were outlined, including over-flight aircraft passing through Niger airspace, aircraft in a state of emergency, and special flights. It is important to note that special flights require authorisation from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

“It is crucial to highlight that the suspension of flights can only be lifted by the Minister of Aviation and AeroSpace Development as approved by the Presidency and ECOWAS.”

Niger was among the three ECOWAS members that left the organisation on Sunday, January 28.


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