Nigeria has impounded a plane operated by a British company for contravening a flight ban imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Sunday.
Sirika said the company – FlairJet, a British private charter company that is an affiliate of Flexjet – “was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights”.
“The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty,” the minister added.
Reuters quoted FlairJet as saying in a statement that the matter was an “evolving situation”.
“We are continuing to respectfully work with the Nigerian authorities to resolve this situation,” it said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had banned non essential flights into Nigeria until June 4, 2020.
The only exception is for flights to evacuate foreigners from Nigeria or repatriate Nigerian citizens from foreign countries.
Allowed are flights for essential services, such as the delivery of food supplies and items for humanitarian use.