• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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FG to provide more clarity on cargo flights ban after BusinessDay’s report  

cargo flights
The Federal Government will be providing more clarity on which cargo flights will be banned and which will be allowed into the country amid efforts to contain the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, a source at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) told BusinessDay on Monday.
The government had on Saturday, through NCAA, said it would shut down Lagos and Abuja airports to international flights from Monday, March 23, and Sam Adurogboye, NCAA’s spokesperson, had confirmed to BusinessDay that cargo flights would also be banned from coming into the country.
Questions have, however, been raised regarding how Nigeria would fight the ravaging pandemic if it closed the airports to essential cargoes, with some commentators asking for clarity.
BusinessDay had on Monday reported that crisis may be in the offing if the Federal Government did not relax its ban on cargo flights to Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The ban is coming at a point when Africa’s most populous country is facing shortages of face masks, surgical masks and ventilators amid increasing number of Nigerians with the deadly coronavirus.
But the NCAA source, who craved anonymity, said the Federal Government would have to provide more clarity on the situation soon considering the fact that cargoes are essential for health and pharmaceutical supplies to help fight the virus. He explained that medical and pharmaceutical cargo flights may still be allowed to operate.
“The problem is that an entire flight cannot carry just medical cargoes. It is usually a mixture of several types of cargoes and if a cargo flight is not full to a certain level, then it may not be justifiable operating the flight,” the source told BusinessDay.
“As a result, the NCAA is in talks with the Federal Government to provide more clarity on the issue. The Ministry of Aviation reports to the presidential task force. The presidential task force is the only one to make a statement with regard to this issue,” the person said.
Adurogboye had earlier said the government was before now delaying the closure of the airports because it was listening to facts from committees set up to advise it.
“Soon after government closed the airports, people are complaining about how they will feed or get income, but the same people were calling for closure. NCAA’s obligation is to enforce compliance. However, those who made the decision will come up with an explanation,” he said.
IFEOMA OKEKE