Federal Govt Promises To Release Trapped $464m Foreign Airlines Funds

Reprieve may soon come the way of the foreign airlines whose funds are trapped in the country as the federal government has assured them it is doing everything possible to ensure the release of the $464million   earnings.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, gave the assurance yesterday, during a media tour of the newly commissioned Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

This is as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said it has not increased landing and parking charges for domestic and international airline operators in the nation’s airports.


Managing director, FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, who made the clarification while speaking with journalists, also said five foreign airlines are scheduled to begin operating from the newly commissioned Terminal 2 at the MMIA by September.

Recall that foreign airlines had complained about $464million earning that is trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). However, the trapped fund has led to Emirates Airlines suspending their operations into Nigeria starting from September 1, 2022.

Also, the International Air Transport Association IATA) has warned of greater consequences, saying more airlines may suspend operation into Nigeria if the trapped funds are not released

However, speaking to journalists after the tour of the facility, Lai Mohammed said the government is doing everything to resolve the impasse.

He said, “the relevant authorities are working hard on it.”

The minister, however, disclosed that the Terminal 2 had created over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and has the capacity to process 14 million passengers annually.


According to him, the terminal was not built to replace the terminal 1 which he said was built in 1979 to process 200,000 persons but to complement it.

He said, “The new International Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was not built to replace Terminal 1 but to complement it. That’s why we were told that you could check in at one Terminal and board at the other. So, there is a handshake between the two Terminals.

“It was the first terminal added to the original terminal since it was built some 40 years ago. The Terminal 2 Project started in 2013 and was completed by the present administration in 2022 under a bilateral agreement with the People’s Republic of China. The terminal, which has state-of-the art facilities and fittings, has the capacity to  process 14 million passengers per annum.”

The minister stated that the world class facility inspected were also present in other states of the federation such as Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying no administration in the history of Nigeria had invested in infrastructure.

“This edifice, and the others like it, is a testament to the commitment of the Buhari Administration’s unprecedented infrastructure development covering roads, bridges, rail, water dams, seaports, etc.

“No administration in the history of Nigeria has done this much, especially at a time of scarcity of resources.

Speaking on the viability of the terminal 2, the FAAN MD, Capt. Yadudu said five more airlines are to start operating from the terminal by September, 2022.

“We are expecting eight foreign airlines to start operation but five are expected to start by September at the new international terminal.”

Yadudu also said a media report that FAAN had increased charges for airline operators was false, and it was not in the immediate plan of the agency to do so.”

The FAAN managing director said if at all there was any plan by FAAN to review the charges, stakeholders in the aviation sector would be carried along on how to go about it.

He said the new MMIA terminal was part of the federal government’s efforts to reposition the aviation sector and make passengers enjoy an exciting travelling experience.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the project and all the others in airports across the country.

Yadudu added that the Buhari administration had demonstrated its commitment to improving the aviation sector with execution of new projects and revival of abandoned ones.

Also speaking, director general, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, also said the report that new charges had been introduced in the aviation sector was misleading .

Nuhu said the NCAA had not increased charges in the last 10 years, even with justification to do so.

“I am not aware of any new charges and I have not authorised any increase in charges. The last time the NCAA reviewed charges was 10 years ago because the NCAA operates on a policy of cost recovery.

“We don’t charge people to make profits; what we charge is what we spend on providing services. That is what we charge to cover for those services.

He, however, said there was the need to consider the review of the existing charges as the agency was in need of resources to continue to provide services.

Nuhu said the NCAA depended on the revenue it was generating, and not the government, to provide services.


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