• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Coronavirus: Time for prompt, patriotic action to protect Nigerians is now – Atiku

Atiku

The Federal Government has been urged to take every reasonable step to protect the citizens of Nigeria, by temporarily suspending flights to and from  high-risk coronavirus countries, until Nigeria builds up its ability to contain the plague.

The advice was given by Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, in a statement he personally signed, a copy of which was sent to BusinessDay.

“Two weeks ago, I had cause to urge the Federal Government to restrict flights from nations with a high prevalence of the coronavirus plague. This is in line with global best practices,” Atiku said.

According to him, “This is a patriotic call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take every reasonable step to protect the citizens of Nigeria, by temporarily suspending flights to and from such countries, until we build up our ability to contain the coronavirus. Our borders should, however, be open to Nigerian citizens, regardless of their status.”

Atiku, who was a presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, further said: “Despite the commendable efforts of our patriotic health officials, it will be recalled that to date, we are yet to identify and or locate multiple passengers who flew in with the index case from Italy. They could be anywhere.

“We must, therefore, err on the side of caution. We cannot afford to broaden the possibility of future infections.”

Atiku noted that the economic impact of a widespread infestation of the virus in Nigeria “will be catastrophic and will affect our national security and status as Africa’s leading economy.”

According to him, “The ravages of this scourge, which has officially been classified as a global pandemic, must not be allowed to test our already fragile economy.

“I urge that every political and any other difference be put aside. On my part, I am first a Nigerian, and I am willing and ready to work with anybody, at anytime, at whatever cost, to ensure the safety of this country, which is the only country we have to call our home, and her peoples.”

Calling for urgent action, Atiku said: “We must act now. We must put Nigeria and her citizens first. We must ensure that our national policy is deliberately tailored to protect our most excellent national resource, the great Nigerian people.”