Until Nigeria Is Safe Before Airports, Schools Re-Open
Until Nigeria Is Safe Before Airports, Schools Re-Open


The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), last week, suspended the planned resumption of domestic flights tentatively scheduled for June 21, 2020; citing the continued restriction on interstate movements as a reason.

The agency said there was no way domestic airlines could resume operations if people would not be able to move freely from one state to another.

At a press briefing on Thursday, June 18, 2020 in Abuja by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said NCAA would only commence local flights when it is safe to do so. Sirika, who was represented by the Director General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, added that to force the resumption of flights when the agency is least prepared, would not only be disastrous for the industry but could worsen the spread of COVID-19. He said the NCAA needs more time to prepare and shall only give the go-ahead when it is safe to do so. According to him, resumption of domestic flights may be towards the end of June.

The Senate has also advised the federal government not to reopen five of the airports shut in March this year in the wake of the pandemic. The Senate Committee on Aviation, after an emergency meeting with leaders of the unions in the sector led by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, said it would be disastrous to reopen the airports now. Chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said based on serious issues raised by stakeholders in the sector as regards safety and security, the planned unlocking of the aviation sector should be postponed.

Similarly, the federal government on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 gave conditions for the reopening of schools and tertiary institutions in the country. Speaking at the 2020 Policy Meeting on Admissions to Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced that “All Institutions must have (1) Hand-washing facilities, (2) Body temperature checks, (3) Body disinfectants at all entry points to their major facilities including the gates, hostels, classes, and offices, (4) The whole premises of each institution must be decontaminated, (5) Maintenance of the highest level of hygiene, and (6) Ensure social and physical distancing in class sizes and meeting spaces. The minister, however, warned against reopening schools without the federal government’s authorisation. Nwajiuba further urged heads of educational institutions in the country not to wait for the announcement of reopening of schools before putting in place all necessary preventive measures in compliance with the protocols of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).