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Saudi plane halts flights in Nigeria, thousands of passengers stranded

ABUJA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A Saudi Airline cargo plane which developed a mechanical fault in Nigeria's capital city caused aviation authorities to halt flights on Thursday morning, leaving thousands of local and international passengers stranded at the airport.

The Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) closed the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, one of the busiest in the West African country, to air traffic, as the faulty cargo plane blocked its runway.

According to aviation officials, the aircraft landed at the Nigerian airport at 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday, but immediately developed a minor problem after landing.

The Nigerian airspace agency issued a notice to airmen on Thursday morning, announcing that the airport had been closed to inbound and outbound planes.

As of the time of filing this report, thousands of passengers waiting to take flights to different parts of Nigeria were stranded at the airports, especially those taking off from major southern and northern cities across the country.

Efforts to fix the grounded faulty plane and clear the runway was ongoing when aviation sources confirmed the incident to Xinhua.

Thousands of local and international passengers use the facility daily, being the main airport serving the capital city of Nigeria.