Flights from Nigeria have been barred by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to the the new Coronavirus variant, Omicron.
Several sources in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Kano, as well as officials at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) told Daily Trust that there was an order to restrict flights from Nigeria over Omicron.
The publication also reported that an official at the Kano Airport confirmed that a circular was issued, directing that all lesser Hajj trips should be cancelled.
The source said;
“Yes it is true because a circular was issued that all Lesser Hajj flights should be canceled and there will be no more flights from Nigeria until further notice.
“I think they are following suit the decision of other countries like UK to prevent against having the virus in the kingdom.”
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It was also gathered that the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia later confirmed the flight suspension in a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom.
Earlier, a businesswoman heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja for ingesting 80 pellets of cocaine.
The woman, 46-year-old Mrs Adisa Afusat Olayinka, who lives in Ibafo, Ogun State and hails from Ilorin, in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State was arrested on Wednesday at the boarding screening area of the airport during an outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight 1418.
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She was subsequently taken into custody where she excreted 80 pellets of the illicit drug between Wednesday and Saturday.
The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi disclosed this in a statement on Monday of November 2021.
The statement reads, “She (suspect) claimed during interviews that she saved N2.5 million over a period of one year to buy the drugs in bits from six different people at Akala, Mushin area of Lagos. The suspect further said she was trading in clothes but had to borrow N1 million from three persons to make up the money used to buy the drugs, adding that she spent another N1 million to renew her passport, visa and buy return flight tickets.
“She said she was encouraged to traffic the drugs by a woman she met during her last Umrah trip to Saudi Arabia in 2019. She added that she needed to raise N7 million for In Vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment due to pressure from people because she’s been married for 28 years without a child due to fertility challenges.
“Meanwhile, another trafficker, Inusa Abdulrazaki was arrested with 101 wraps of heroin weighing 1.3 kilogrammes on Friday, 19th November at Gate C -Departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos on his way to Italy via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. The drugs were concealed inside cassava flour popularly called gari. The following day Saturday, 20th November, NDLEA operatives at the airport during a routine cargo search at NAHCO export shed intercepted an abandoned consignment of khat 17.90kg.
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“While commending the officers and men of the NAIA and MMIA commands for their vigilance and steadfastness, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa urged them to always stay two steps ahead of the drug cartels.”