COVID-19: Nigeria extends airport closure by two weeks
The Nigerian Government has extended the closure of airports in the country by two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this on Monday. It could be recalled that the FG shut all international airports in the country on Monday, March 23 for one month.
Subsequently, President Muhammadu Buhari , had extended the closure to all local airports in the country while announcing 14-day lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States on March 29.
Buhari, on April 13, had extended the lockdown in the three states by two weeks.
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja are two major entry points into Nigeria.
Despite the closure of these airports and all others in the country to commercial flight operations, the government had said emergency and essential flights could be operated from any of the airports within the period.
But announcing on Monday via Twitter, the aviation minister said the airports would no longer open for commercial operations on April 23 due to the extended lockdown in the three cities.
He said, “As a result of the extension on lockdown by Mr President, it is no longer possible for us to open our airspace and airports for normal operations by the 23rd April 2020.
“They will remain closed for a further two weeks. This is subject to review as appropriate.”
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as of Sunday night, there were over 600 confirmed cases of the lethal virus in the country.
Over 20 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded including the Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President, Abba Kyari, who died on Friday after testing positive for the virus upon return from overseas.