Flair Aviation, an aviation company with ties to the United Kingdom, has been caught operating commercial flights into Nigeria.
Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, said the aircraft has been seized and the crew are being interrogated.
According to Sirika, the company was given clearance for humanitarian operations.
According to information provided on its website, the company specialises in aircraft leasing and sales, technical and flight support, spare parts and tooling, and aviation consultation.
“Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights. This is callous!” he tweeted on Sunday.
“The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve!”
The federal government barred international flights into the country on March 23 as part of efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak.
The Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja were the last airports to be shut down.
Only essential and emergency flights are allowed in the country.
Nigeria recorded its first COVID-19 case on February 28; an Italian who arrived via a Turkish Airlines flight on February 25.
There are already reactions to the minister’s tweet with some calling for maximum sanctions.