Coronavirus: FG to shut Lagos, Abuja airports on Monday, says minister

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos would be closed as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Sirika, while fielding questions from State House Correspondents on Friday, said the five international airports should have been closed instead of singling out three.

The minister, who was asked to explain the reason the international airports in Lagos and Abuja were exempted by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said:

“Well, I think differently, this is my individual perspective. At some points, these airports must be closed, this is my opinion. “But like I said, there is Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to which I am a member. But certainly and definitely at some point, these airports must be closed (Abuja and Lagos), all of them in Nigerian will be closed. I think it is the safest thing to do because these things, they multiply exponentially.

“But for a better briefing, I think we have the forum, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, they will come up with a statement.

“But I can guarantee you that sooner than later the airports will be closed. We would close down these airports and we would issue the necessary notices to airmen as to what time they would be closed.

“I think it will be very soon. It is better safe than sorry and I think in my opinion, this is my personal opinion, if you want to catch a fish empty the water.”

He said the closure of the airports would take effect from Saturday, March 21 by 23:59 pm, adding that people coming from the banned 15 countries will not enter.

Asked on what would happen to the co-travellers of the daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is presently on self-isolation, the minister said:

“The task force set up by Mr President is actively tracking that and will make sure that any traveler that comes in, any flight that informs us, we will follow each and every individual to further follow development on that individual.”

Today, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the closure of three International airports in the country as part of measures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)/ Chairman PTF, Boss Mustapha, stated that effective from Saturday March 21, 2020 midnight, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port-Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa will be closed to all international flights.

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