*Mr. Boss Mustapha, Nigeria’s SGF and PTF on COVID-19 Chairman
With uncertainties written all over the place especially coupled with the nonchalant attitude of some Nigerians when the lockdown was relaxed by the government, President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the ban imposed on local and international flights by four weeks. But the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha said the federal government decided to extend the flight ban by four weeks after due consultation.
He said, “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,” Mustapha said at the briefing of the presidential task force on COVID-19 yesterday. He added, “The Honourable minister of aviation will give you details during this briefing.”
Mustapha however appealed to Nigerians to comply with the guidelines of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also acknowledged challenges the people have been facing at banks, saying efforts were being made to address the situation when he said, “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,” Mustapha said.
“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. “I, therefore plead with Nigerians to be patient and schedule their physical appearances at banks. On the other hand, I wish to repeat my call to the Banks to also quickly address issues related to difficulty with using their on-line platforms, especially re-validating expired ATM cards amongst others.”
With this extension of flight ban for another month, there are strong indications that the government may slam another round of lockdown on Nigerians. Should it get to that, we gather from very reliable quarters the it would be “total lockdown” this time around while the government will apply the full weight of the law on any citizen found violating the lockdown order when pronounced by Mr. President.