Warns Nigerians against visit to Kogi
By Olawale Ajimotokan
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) has identified 22 Local Government Areas in 13 states of the federation as the hotspots of the new spike in COVID-19 epidemic in the last six weeks.
The PTF National Incident Manager, Dr. Mukhtar Muhammad, gave the affected local government areas yesterday at the weekly briefing by the PTF.
The council area with high case load are: Nkanu West, Enugu; Abuja Municipal Area Council, FCT; Gwagwalada, FCT; Gombe, Gombe; Chikun, Kaduna; Kaduna North, Kaduna; Kaduna South, Kaduna; Nassarawa, Kano; Katsina, Katsina; Ilorin South, Kwara; Ilorin West, Kwara; Eti-Osa, Lagos; Ikeja, Lagos; Kosofe, Lagos; Lagos Mainland, Lagos; Keffi, Nasarawa; Lafia, Nasarawa; Ibadan North, Oyo; Jos North, Plateau; Jos South, Plateau; Port-Harcourt, Rivers and Wamako, Sokoto.
Muhammad also identified Yobe, Jigawa, Zamfara and Kebbi states as those where data were notably not forthcoming to aid analysis of the level of epidemic in the states.
He also advised Nigerians against paying visit to Kogi State in the light of the failure of the north central state to report COVID- 19 cases and testing results to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
He noted that states that are not testing are probably of higher risk than the states already known as high burden.
“And Kogi State that has not been reporting at all – a state that is not testing at all is an absolute high risk for Nigerians to go there because there is no testing facility. “If you fall sick, there is no isolation facility and they don’t even acknowledge that the disease exists. So, for that reason, epidemiologically, we put that state at the top of high risk state,” Muhammed said.
He said the PTF is working to provide support to all states to offer enforcement in form of risk and community engagement strategies, while also stressing that practical strategies will be adopted that will include mobile courts in strategic locations such as motor parks, markets.
He also said that the next batch of 100 travel defaulters that fail to subject themselves for test after seven-day of arrival through the international travel portal will have their names and passport numbers published this week in seven national newspapers and face a six-month travel ban.
Meanwhile, the federal government has threatened to suspend the operations from airlines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands into Nigeria, unless the two countries drop their demand for additional tests for Nigerian passengers going to their countries.
The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, issued the threat yesterday at the PTF briefing.
Nuhu accused both the UAE and the Netherlands of putting in extra requirements for passengers going into their countries, such as adding extra requirements of having rapid test done four hours here before boarding.
He noted that some of the requirements were specific to Nigeria and were in addition to the requirements for PCR Test before departure from Nigeria to their countries.
He said why the PTF recognised the right of all countries to put in measures to protect their citizens, the countries or the airlines cannot determine for Nigeria whom to approve and how these tests can be done.
“We are going to be having discussions with these airlines and these countries. And if they insist on having these additional tests being done then PTF has decided that their operations will be suspended into Nigeria until the time the PFT put in the structure and deals with the logistics and how these second test can be done successfully within the four hours of departure to these two countries and to other countries that probably come up with something close to that,” Nuhu said.
He also said that NCAA has begun to implement sanction against airlines that have brought into Nigeria passengers that are not in compliance with FG’s COVID-19 protocol.
The NCAA DG said that some of the airlines had been fined while two had already paid the fine, while others have requested for further information for them to process this. He added that the civil aviation authority is working closely with the portal authority for information updated briefs with those in compliance with PTF protocols into Nigeria.
Also the Chairman PTF on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, has said the federal government will continue to collaborate with the Nigeria Governors Forum on the management of the Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari because every citizen resides within the jurisdiction of the states.
He strongly appealed to all sub-national entities to please remain conscious of the rising numbers and the associated fatalities while reminding them they are required to establish appropriate structures and systems for the enforcement.