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Flights resumption: VIPs can’t travel with aides yet -FG

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Flights resumption: VIPs can't travel with aides yet -FG

Hadi Sirika

As domestic airlines resume flights across the country next week Wednesday, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on Thursday, said that all very important personalities, VIPs would not be allowed to travel with their their aides adherence to physical distancing policy,

This is even as he declared that the federal government has no jurisdiction to determine airfares for the airlines’ operators.

Sirika stated this while responding to questions from Senators at an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Aviation.

The minister also urged Nigerians to desist from stigmatisation of persons who had tested positive to the dreaded Coronavirus, currently ravaging the world, stressing that the pandemic was not as deadly as Ebola and Lassa fever.

Speaking on the airfare, Sirika said that, even though it was not within his statutory powers to determine the price, increases by airline operators would not be significant.

“Price is not in my hand but like I said from what we put in place, I do not think that anything significant will happen to affect the propensity to fly”, he said.

On stigmatisation, the Minister said: “I think that stigmatisation has to stop at some point. Yes COVID is deadly. And yes COVID can be spread because it is a droplet and can be contacted but if we do the non pharmaceutical interventions; if we keep our hands clean either by use of hand sanitiser, we have our masks in place so that when we sneeze or cough, the droplets don’t go far, we will be safe.

Flights resumption: VIPs can't travel with aides yet -FG

“So, stigmatization against Coronavirus patients has to stop because it is not as deadly as Ebola or Lassa fever. We were told by health experts that about 95 % of carriers recover without treatment, 5% end up in hospital and only about 15% of the 5% get distressed”.

Commenting on the state of the aircrafts which had not been in operation for months due COVID-19 lockdown, he allayed the fears of the lawmakers and Nigerians in general, that the aircrafts would be in good flight condition.

Apart from the fact that personalities won’t be allowed to travel with their aides, Sirika stated that, even important personalities who were not traveling would not be allowed to enter the airport.

“We have circulated this information and Mr President has approved; all those who have no business in traveling will certainly have no business to enter the airport. They will not enter the airport, not pat all.

“So, anybody coming into the airport, this time around, whether as a personality, a ministers, or even honourable members the senators will not be carrying their aides into the airports any longer.

“So, the VIPs should help us and take responsibility, so that we ensure that they don’t add to our problems in the country”.

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