By Temitope Akintoye,
The Federal Government has approved the extension of its coronavirus preventive flight ban by an additional four weeks, saying that the decision was taken after due consideration of the Covid-19 situation in several countries across the world.
It said that the additional four weeks would commence from Thursday, May 7, 2020, being the date on which the initial ban was supposed to expire, and that the nation’s airspace would remain closed to traffic during the specified period.
The Secretary to the Government, Boss Mustapha, who confirmed the extension to newsmen on Wednesday, stated that the decision had been based on advice received from experts, as well as considerations of existing realities in the aviation industry.
Mustapha said that the decision was taken in the best interests of Nigerians, and urged for people’s cooperation with the apex government in its drive to protect the nation and its residents from the deadly global pandemic.
“Tomorrow marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights. We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks”.
He assured Nigerians that the government acknowledged the challenges which may be raised as a result of the ban extension, but called for understanding and sacrifice for the overall good of the nation as it battled against rising incidence of coronavirus.
Mustapha revealed that the apex government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, had implemented measures to ensure that Nigerians were granted easy access to funds domiciled in commercial financial institutions across the country and that strategies had been drawn to avoid reoccurrence of the difficulties reported by the people.
“The PTF recognizes the challenges earlier encountered at the bank. We, however, assure you that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as the Bankers’ Committee, have put in place strategies that would reduce such re-occurrence,”
“I, therefore plead with Nigerians to be patient and schedule their physical appearances at banks. On the other hand, I wish to repeat my call to the Banks to also quickly address issues related to difficulty with using their on-line platforms, especially re-validating expired ATM cards amongst others”.
The task force boss encouraged the people to remain patient and comply with the Covid-19 preventive guidelines as released by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), saying that the people’s cooperation was important in the government’s fight against the coronavirus infection.