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34 Nigerians deported from the US over immigration, other offences

A total of 34 Nigerians have been deported from the United States over alleged immigration, and related offences.

The deportees arrived at the cargo session of
the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA), Lagos, aboard a chartered
Omni Air International aircraft with Registration Number W342AX.

The Spokesman of the Lagos Airport Police
Command, Joseph Alabi, confirmed the development, saying: “At about 14:30 hours
(2:30 p.m.), we received 34 Nigerians who were brought back from the United
States. They were made up of 32 males and two females.”
He said 25 of the
persons were alleged to have committed criminal offences, with one involved in
Others were alleged to have committed
immigration-related offences.
Alabi said the deportees were received by officers of
the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Agency for the Prohibition of
Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the police.
Also involved were officials of Federal Airports
Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
He said the deportees were profiled by the relevant
authorities and allowed to depart to their various destinations.
Airline operators, meanwhile, commended the Federal
Government’s removal of the controversial mandatory five per cent Value Added
Tax (VAT) on air travel tickets.
The operators, who recently had threatened to stop
paying the tax, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government
for listening to the cries of domestic airlines in the country.
The Guardian learnt that the action was effected by an
Executive Order stating the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from “All Forms of
Shared Transportation”, following the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting o
June 6, 2018.
The VAT is among 37 sundry charges, under the guise of
taxes and levies at airports nationwide that account for at least 65 per cent
of revenue accruing to the airlines.
The Chairman of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria
(AON), Capt. Nogie Meggison, said they had, for decades, called for discussions
on the immediate removal of VAT from domestic air transportation, in line with
global best practices.
He said: “VAT is an added burden on our passengers who
have limited disposal funds and have reached their elastic point in this
difficult time in the nation’s economy.
“This adversely affects the sector by reducing the
number of those who can afford to travel by air, due to high fares.
This has been shown to be true, according to a recent
report from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) that passenger
traffic dropped by 27 per cent in 2017 and by another seven per cent in the
first quarter of 2018, making it a total of 34 per cent drop in passenger
traffic within a span of one year.”
He said domestic air travel in Nigeria is the only
mode of commercial transportation that pays VAT.
“VAT on commercial air transportation is a huge
departure from what obtains worldwide and is an increased burden on Nigerian
Ghana, Benin Republic, Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, located
next door to us, have all abolished VAT for air transportation.
“The recent decision by the Federal Government to
remove VAT from domestic air transportation will go a long way in bringing
succour to groaning Nigerian travelers.
They will be able to afford travel by air, and the
growth in demand for domestic air travel will lead to the creation of jobs by
the entire air transport service chain (airlines, airports, ground handlers and
catering companies), as well as increase revenues for government.
“This is a step that Ghana took over a year ago and
the benefits are there for all to see today, as Accra is fast becoming the
aviation hub for West Africa,” he said.
The Guardian. 

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