Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has disclosed that some Governors in Nigeria have been denied flight access following the closure of the country’s airspace and airports amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister disclosed this while responding to questions at the media briefing of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday April 21. He said some of the Governors who have been denied access to flights are from south-south, south-east and north-central.
Sirika said the increased flights in Abuja is due to the rehearsals by the Nigerian Air Force, as well as essential flights which are COVID-19-related.
“This is occasioned by the information dished out by the Nigerian Air Force that they will be carrying out some activity to mark their week, I think tomorrow, so I think maybe a rehearsal on that.
“But suffice to say that every single flight that you would see, every single one that we would approve, will be an essential flight, and 98 percent of them would be connected to COVID-19; a few of them might be repatriation requests from diplomatic community which must go through foreign affairs, or it might be repatriation due to illness of another kind – medical evacuation – and those evacuations need the stamp of a teaching hospital which we’ve said before.
“There is no exception for governors. I’ve denied several of such flights including two governors from the south-south, two from the south-east, and by the way three of them are members of the APC – I think one is from north-central.
“Just to say that once you see a flight approved, it’s diligently done, must be essential, it must be COVID-19-related, or it’s some other flights like cargo, or to bring in medicines or equipment, or something related to COVID-19 or our own well-being like food and so on and so forth.”
He also told a Twitter user that whoever is approved to fly privately amid the lockdown order, Governor or no Governor, is an essential trip and a value addition.