FG to Enforce Principle of Reciprocity on International Flights

Captain Musa Nuhu
  • Blames Nigerians for not submitting to COVID-19 testing

Olawale Ajimotokan and Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

The federal government has vowed to apply the principle of reciprocity against the nationals of some countries that are imposing stringent traveling conditions on Nigerian citizens on the bases of COVID-19 cases in the country.

It has also flayed the attitude of Nigerians for not submitting themselves for COVID-19 testing.

The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, issued the threat yesterday during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing.

Nuhu, who stood in for the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the civil aviation authority will meet on Monday to determine the countries to be affected by the ban when Nigeria resumes international flights on August 29.

Nuhu, who did not indicate any country, appealed to the countries banning Nigerians from going to their countries to be conscious of level-playing field in reciprocity as the country will also apply the same measure.

‘’The principle of reciprocity would be applied. I bet you the conditions you give Nigerians who travel to your country – we will apply the same thing.

‘’If you ban us from coming to your country, the same will apply the other way; we just hope for a level-playing field on the issue of reciprocity,’’ Nuhu said.

He noted that the federal government held a meeting with the affected countries’ foreign airlines on Wednesday where it gave them its opinion on the resumption of flights for those who will ultimately be allowed to resume flights into Nigeria.

He also said that the numbers of passengers coming to Nigeria through Lagos and Abuja, when the international flights resume, will be initially restricted to 1,280 while the flights to be allowed will be determined today.

On his part, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha has flayed the attitude of Nigerians for not submitting themselves for COVID-19 testing.

Mustapha said that although the country’s testing capacity had been increased to carry out up to 15,000 tests per day, the country was carrying only between 3,000 to 6,000 tests daily because people were refusing to subject themselves to testing.

He said the country would have flattened the virus curve if the public had heeded all the non- pharmaceutical interventions prescribed on containment of COVID-19.

He also noted that it was the poor attitude that prompted the PTF to propose the National Policy on Ethics and Integrity, that was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday.

‘’It is hoped that when implementation of the National Policy on Ethics and Integrity, that was approved by the Federal Executive Council yesterday commences, Nigerians would have the necessary incentive and impetus to always do the appropriate thing in all circumstances. Because if we have relied on our age-old value systems of integrity, adhering to guidelines would be second nature to us as citizens,’’ Mustapha said.

He appealed to over 80 per cent of the youthful population to be on the guard and not to believe that since they are asymptomatic carriers they can carry on with life as they please.

Mustapha anchored the call for attitudinal change on the realisation that the virus has spread to more areas, having moved from an initial 10 hotspot Local Government Areas in the country to 16 and now 20 LGAs, adding that the recent case of infection among some students sitting for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations also called for more vigilance by the education sector and everybody.