News Analysis

Ensuring Compliance with Covid-19 Protocols at the Nation’s Airports

Prior to the reopening of the nation’s airspace last month, the Federal Ministry of Aviation had instituted Covid-19 protocols at the nation’s airports to safeguard the lives of airport workers and passengers.

And to ensure safe air travel in Nigeria amidst the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic.

However, it is so worrisome that some major incidents of violation of Covid-19 protocols were recorded at the nation’s local airports by some important personalities.

In Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Governor of Adamawa State, Ahmadu Fintiri, allegedly ignored efforts by officials to board him according to Covid-19 rules at the local wing of Port-Harcourt International Airport.  Also, former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, allegedly assaulted officials of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, at the Kano airport.

Another case of violation of Covid-19 protocols was reported at the Abuja Airport. According to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, the head of Department of State Services at the international terminal of Abuja Airport deliberately obstructed airport security process, and allegedly slapped an aviation security officer.

It is regrettable that people who are considered as leaders and expected to show good examples decided to exhibit indiscipline, thereby endangering the lives of both airport workers and other users of the airports.

The reopening according to Covid-19 presidential taskforce was considered necessary in order to resuscitate the economy, however the breach of the Covid -19 rules could have adverse effects on the nation’s economy at the long run.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN had vowed to do the needful if ongoing investigations find the accused persons culpable of breaching the Covid -19 protocols.

Also,  Mnister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the 51st Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 briefing in Abuja, warned that if found guilty, the culprits could be jailed for two months or above, and also pay a fine or be additionally sanctioned.

Weeks after the incidents, Nigerians are still in dark concerning the investigations carried out.

In some quarters, it is believed that rules and laws are not made for important personalities, they therefore violate them.

Relevant authorities must prosecute those guilty of violating Covid-19 protocols at the airports so as to send the right signal to other air travellers.

Even if due to their immunity they cannot be jailed, they must pay fines and be suspended from the use of the nation’s airports for a stipulated period.

Olaolu Fawole

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