The federal government of Nigeria may have woken up from their slumber over the reality of the global pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) with the suspension of all international flights into Nigeria. In the same breadth, the government also suspended the operations of all passenger trains by the Nigerian Railway Corporation in the country.
In a statement at the weekend, which was signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, NRC, Mr. Yakub Mahmood, the railway said the decision to halt the passengers train takes effect from Monday, March 23, till further notice. “The Board and Management of me Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) have decided to stop all passengers’ trains operation as from Monday March 23, 2020. This is in view of the report of the already known, COVID-19 outbreak. Further Information on passengers’ trains services will be made available in due cause to our esteemed passengers.”
In a related development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has also announced the suspension of all international flights into Nigeria. Along with other recently closed international airports, it has now included Lagos and Abuja airports to the list. In a statement signed by the Director General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said the directive is effective Monday, March 23, 2020.
The statement said, “Further to our earlier letter on restrictions of international flights into Nigeria, we wish to inform you that effective from 11pm on Monday, March 23, to 11pm of April 23, 2020, Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, will be closed to all international flights. This is in addition to the closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, effective Saturday, Match 21.
“Henceforth, all airports in Nigeria are closed to all incoming International flights with the exception of emergency and essential flights. Domestic flights will continue normal operations at all airports. All airlines are required to submit passenger manifest to ports health authority, prior to the arrival of flights into Nigeria. Please be guided accordingly.”
Nuhu had earlier stated that all persons arriving into Nigeria who might have visited the countries affected by the travel ban 15 days prior to arrival, would be subjected to supervised self-quarantine and testing for 14 days. Again, he said, “The travel restriction is applicable to all flight crew from the affected countries. All operators wishing to operate into Nigeria are required to operate with two sets of flight crew; one set to operate into Nigeria and one set to operate out of Nigeria.”