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No special treatment for VIPs, Sanwo-Olu tells airport staff

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Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi (left); Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Director, Airport Operations, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Murktar Muye; Station Manager, South Africa Embassy; Mrs. Joy Onyeadi and others, during an assessment of coronavirus screening procedure at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos… yesterday.

As airlines demand restriction of flights to Lagos, Abuja airports
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu yesterday visited the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) for assessment of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN’s) screening of passengers for coronavirus, insisting that members of staff should not show bias in their operations.

Although, he expressed satisfaction over what was on ground, he tasked the management and staff of FAAN to ensure that all passengers with no exception and no matter their status as very important personalities (VIPs) were properly screened.

Sanwo-Olu said what he saw should be the minimum standard, insisting that the staff members should continue to be committed and patriotic, as they needed to do it for their fatherland, adding however, that they should not stigmatised in the process.

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He said he decided to pay a working visit to the airport to show that the staff members were not alone, as the state government was concerned and in support of their efforts.

The governor added that as a government, it would not give anything to chance, especially as the state has recorded a third index case.

Earlier, Acting Managing Director of FAAN, Muktar Mute, commended the governor for the visit, saying it would serve as a moral booster to the members of staff.

Meanwhile, in a bid to contain the deadly virus, airline operators yesterday urged the Federal Government to restrict all international flights to the Lagos and Abuja airports for proper screening of potential carriers of coronavirus.

The operators, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), also demanded comprehensive travel restriction for foreign nationals of countries that have been confirmed to have over 100 cases of Covid-19.

Rising from a meeting with aviation regulatory bodies where the global spread pattern was reviewed, the stakeholders were unanimous that the Federal Government needed to be more proactive to prevent a major crisis in Nigeria.

The position followed more drastic control measures already taken in Ghana, Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Egypt, South Africa, Guinea, Angola, Morocco, Tanzania, and South Africa, which have restricted flight operations from Covid-19 high-risk countries.

Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, said Nigeria was about the only country in Africa that has yet taken a decisive action to stop the inflow of the virus into itsshores.

“We can say that if the situation escalates in Nigeria other countries would not hesitate to stop us from flying into their domains. We appeal to the government to put Nigeria first at this time and act immediately by restricting travels into the country as long as the threat lasts,” Meggison said.

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