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FG bars in-bound flights with more than 200 passengers as Emirates resumes flights in Nigeria

…Insists facemasks are mandatory for Ondo guber election

The Federal Government has said that international airlines carrying Nigerian- bound passengers are not allowed to carry more than 200 passengers, even as it insisted that facemasks remain mandatory for voting in the October 10 governorship election in Ondo state.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this while making his remarks during briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the containment of the Covid-19 in Abuja on Thursday. The Minister has insisted on strict adherence on genuine PCR test results while observing the protocols and procedures by airlines and passengers.

“The protocols and procedures are that the airlines are allowed to come in -bound with not more than 200 passengers but out- bound they can carry as many passengers as possible,” Sirika said.

He also said that following the lifting of ban on United Arab Emirates, (UAE) after the resolution of the visa impasses with Nigeria, the Emirates Airlines will begin operations from Friday, October 9, stressing that the airline is now allowed to start operating flights into Abuja and Lagos.

With regards to elections on Saturday in Ondo across 18 local government areas, the National Coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu said about 1.5 million people are expected to cast their votes across 3,000 polling units in the state.

He noted that the exercise will also come with risks. Therefore in order to protect the voters, election officials and candidates are requested to make the environment safe for the elections.

He said “facemasks are mandatory, no facemasks, no voting,” even as he emphasized that physical distances must be enforced in queuing at polling units, adding that hand sanitisers will be provided.

“Polls will commence at 8:30 and end by 20:30 pm, there will be two queues- an outer queue and inner queue, voters will be brought into the voting area from the outer queue into the inner queue in order to prevent overcrowding, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided including infrared thermometers, elections materials will be disinfected and packaged properly,” he said.

He said further, “We encourage all the 17 candidates to please lead by example, we urge voters to adhere strictly to the safety measures that we have put in place with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We must work together to ensure that the measures put in place by the Nigeria Centre For Disease Control (NCDC), are observed. We certainly cannot afford to lose the little gain we have made in the fight against the pandemic.”

With regards to opening of the schools on Monday, Aliyu said the Federal Ministry of Education and schools have provided guidelines to minimize the risk of transmission. He noted that specifically school authorities have the responsibility to ensure the wearing of masks by students, sanitizing their hands and providing PPE.

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