COVID-19: Nigerian government assures citizens of safe Airports

Ijeoma Nwankpa,, Abuja

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The Nigerian government has assured its citizens that it will ensure that all airports in the country comply with the protocols of COVID -19 for flight operations as it gradually opens up all the airports across the country for domestic flight operations.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika stated this in Kano when he led a delegation of Aviation stakeholders and members of the Presidential Task- force on COVID-19 to ascertain the level of preparedness of the airport as the airport resumes flight operations.

The Minister assured Nigerians that other airports in the country will commence operations on the 15th of July but only if they are ready, stressing that the lives of Nigerians will not be put at risk at Airports that are not ready.

” The main purpose of why we are here today is to see that this airport is open in accordance with the protocols of COVID-19 established by the Presidential Taskforce for COVID-19 and to assess weather this airport is safe to operate ”

High-level preparedness
The Minister said he was impressed with the level of preparations put in place by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.

” I am very glad that the NCAA and FAAN had done estremely very well under our watch to ensure that every thing that was put in place, to ensure physical distancing, good hygiene has been established and is been followed.”

Sirika however assured Nigerians that the mallam Aminu Kano airport was safe for flight operations both in and out during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

” What I saw is good enough for us to go, this airport is safe for people to fly in and out.”

In his remarks, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, Sani Aliyu said they were in Kano to inspect the preparedness of Mallam Aminu Kano Airport and have observed that the Airport was ready with all the protocols as approved by the PTF.

Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos

According to Mallam Aliyu, the role of the PTF is to ascertain if the airport is safe or not.

” As far as we are concerned, we have not seen anything that will stop us from proceeding, so we are quite impressed with what we have seen thus far.”

Mallam Aliyu who commended the Minister and his team for a job well done however called for decongestion of the airport for optimal use as well as to achieve the desired result.

”We will be making additional recommendations to the aviation authorities in terms of operationalising this, in particular to avoid having crowd and making sure that the airport depart promptly and their operations are efficient and staggered because if we have too much congestion at the airport, it will be difficult for the rules to be followed.”

Minimise spread of Covid-19
Also , the Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi commended the efforts put in place by the aviation authorities to ensure that the objective of minimising the spread of COVID-19 is achieved.

Senator Adeyemi however suggested that more water be provided at the departure hall of the airport as well as more information on the boards as seen in Nnamdi Azikiwe airport Abuja.

The Minister was accompanied by members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Chairmen of the National Assembly Committee on Aviation, DG’ s of FAAN and NCAA among other diginatries.

It is expected that other airports across the country that have met the criteria of PTF on COVID-19 protocol will resume domestic flight operations on the fifteenth of July.

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