COVID-19: FG bans flights for another four weeks

By AdvocateNews on 07/05/2020

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• Aviation sector is losing   N17bn monthly -Minister

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has announced a four-week extension of the suspension imposed on air travels in the country.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this during Wednesday’s edition of the daily press briefing by the task force.

Meanwhile, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated that the sector has been the worst hit since the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the country.

According to him, airlines have lost nearly N17 billion monthly since their operations were grounded, as part of efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

“We are in very difficult moments like everyone else. All of this started because someone travelled and unfortunately came back home with it and the consequence is what we’ve been going though.

“We are the worst hit, than any other sector. Some N17 billion naira monthly is being lost by the airlines, thanks to COVID-19,” the minister said.

The PTF also raised the alarm over the observed abandonment of care by the population, with regards to warnings against crowding and observation of various protective measures, noting that all indications pointed at dangers ahead.

On the reason for extending ban on flights for four more weeks, Mustapha said the decision was informed by the assessments made and advice provided by aviation industry experts.

“Tomorrow marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights. We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks”, he said.

He also warned of grave dangers ahead as a result of the manner Nigerians had responded to the ease of lockdown, whic took effect from Monday, calling on all stakeholders, especially community and religious leaders to help government in changing the tides.

He also charged all Nigerians to be ready, more than ever before, to take responsibility for their individual safety, as well as those of their loved ones, warning again that COVID-19 was a deadline outbreak, which should be taken seriously.

“The overall assessment of compliance with the measures and outcomes of modelling we have developed, point in the direction of danger ahead. We therefore need personal discipline, increased awareness and enforcement.

“The PTF calls on community, religious and traditional leaders to take up this challenge. Similarly, we call on, trade associations, professional bodies and organizations to compliment the efforts of government. The PTF appreciates your current efforts but it has become very obvious that more needs to be done, together.

“Early assessment of the ease of lockdown phase indicate that Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the deadliness and the virulent nature of the COVID-19 and this gives us concerns on the high possibility of increased seeding of the virus to hitherto un-affected persons and populations.

Some of these areas of worries include the following:

"Non-compliance with social/physical distancing guidelines evidenced by higher than advised congregation of people in banks; traffic gridlocks especially at entry points to metropolitan areas; and disregard of guidelines on carrying capacity of motor vehicles.

“Increased level of inter-state movements worsened by the dubious concealment of people in food carrying vehicles; Unhygienic and ill-advised use and sharing of masks especially multiple fittings before buying from vendors;

Once again, we appeal to the Governors to please align their plan for the movement of Almajiris with the ban imposed by the President. We shall intensify our dialogue on this matter.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to re-iterate the fact that our individual and collective safety is in our hands and I re-echo my call and appeal to Nigerians to demonstrate our duty to ourselves and loved ones by minimizing the risk of getting infected by the virus”, he warned.

He also observed that indeed people had faced challenges in the last few weeks, but warned “as we continue to push the frontiers of risk communication, I wish to appeal to all Nigerians to be vigilant and desist from taking undue risks. The PTF recognises the challenges earlier encountered at the bank. We however assure you that the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as the Bankers’ Committee have put in place strategies that would reduce such re-occurrence.

Posted 07/05/2020 05:43:16 AM


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