Why we stopped Patience Jonathan at the airport – FAAN
The convoy carrying the wife of the former President, Dame Patience Jonathan, was stopped from taking her to the foot of the aircraft on the tarmac of the Port Harcourt International Airport, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has said.
The former First Lady was reportedly stopped from using the VIP lounge of the airport. But the FAAN said it was not so. It was learnt that Dame Jonathan had gone to Port Harcourt on a private visit.
Sources at the airport also alleged that the former First Lady was denied access to the lounge by security operatives of FAAN, who reportedly said they were working based on orders from “above.”
But reacting to the report, FAAN, in a statement on Tuesday, described it as misleading and mischievous, stressing that the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan was not denied access to “the VIP lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport on July 27, 2015.”
However, the authority was quick to state that what its security officials did was to stop the former First Lady’s convoy from gaining access to the tarmac where her aircraft was parked.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Yakubu Dati, said the security officials explained to Dame Jonathan’s team why her convoy was stopped, adding that the officials were only abiding by international safety standards.
FAAN said, “The former First Lady’s convoy was only denied access to the foot of the aircraft during boarding formalities at the airport in line with international aviation best practices, strictly for safety reasons, as prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Our security officials explained this fact to details of the former First Lady.
“We wish to recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan, in his recent trips from the same airport, had had to walk to the aircraft from the protocol lounge, in recognition of this ICAO regulation.”
FAAN went on to explain that family members of former Presidents were officially entitled to use the VIP lounge, adding that Dame Jonathan would not be denied that right.
It said, “We wish to state that no such thing happened as Dame Jonathan, like other family members of former Presidents and other designated principal officers of government, are officially entitled to the usage of airport VIP and protocol lounges under the management of FAAN.”