El-Rufai’s Wife, Children, Held at Lagos Airport

The family of former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, was yesterday stopped by immigration officials at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. Mrs. Asia el-Rufai, who returned to the country from Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE) with three kids aged three, nine and seven, was delayed for about 40 minutes to one hour.

THISDAY reports that their passports were siezed without any tangible explanation. 
The officials reportedly claimed they were conducting routine “checks” on their travelling documents. For the entire period, Asia was neither asked a question nor told why she was being held longer than usual. 
They were released after she protested.  When contacted on phone, the former FCT minister said the government is deliberatly “harassing” his family in order to stop his imminent return to the country.
“All these harassment was because they are trying to scare us from coming back but I am coming back,” declared el-Rufai.
He continued: “I know I will spend my Christmas in Nigeria. The country does not belong to anybody’s father. I will come back,” he said. 
El-Rufai stated that he was astonished that the Nigerian government would attempt to stop her citizens from entering their country. He said he was particularly miffed by attempts to scare minors.
“Even in war, children are allowed to go, which is not even a war. It’s just political difference,” he said.  El-Rufai and his family have had a running battle with the authorities. 
Only three months ago, his wife was unable to renew her passport and that of her children until she complained bitterly to the relevant authorities.
The former FCT minister was also denied a new passport last month by the Nigerian Embassy in London. 
His trouble started after his tenure as FCT minister came to an end. He has been accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of confiscating land in Abuja and allocating same to friends among other weighty allegations. 
But el-Rufai who is currently locked in a legal battle with the agency has denied all allegations against him, saying they are baseless. He claims he is being persecuted politically.