The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to close the two remaining international airports in Lagos and Abuja to flight operations as part of preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Friday announced shut down of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port-Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa from 12am on Saturday.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, announced this to State House correspondents after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the measures put in place for the enforcement of the March 21 travel restriction on flights and citizens of high risk countries from entering Nigeria.
The Minister said the Murtala Muhammadu International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would also be closed.
Fielding question on why the Abuja and Lagos international airports that have the highest number of flights were not mentioned among the closed airports, he said that the closure of airports was a gradual process.
He 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 Nigeria will be closed. I think it is the safest thing to do because these things, they multiply exponentially.
”But for a better brief 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 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.”
On the aircraft that brought the daughter of President Buhari from the United Kingdom, who is now on self isolation, he said that the Presidential Task Force was tackling the flights that came into the country from the high risk countries.
He said: “The task force set up by Mr. President is actively tracking that and we 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.”