Former Vice- President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Federal Government to restrict flights into the country from countries with high prevalence of coronavirus.
His call is coming against the backdrop of similar restriction and in some cases outright ban by many countries, including the United States of America, on flights from countries with high incidence of the disease.
Atiku said this is in line with global best practices and a “patriotic call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take every reasonable step to protect the citizens of Nigeria, by temporarily suspending flights to and from such countries, until we build up our ability to contain the coronavirus.
“Our borders should, however, be open to Nigerian citizens, regardless of their status.
“Despite the commendable efforts of our patriotic health officials, it will be recalled that to date, we are yet to identify and or locate multiple passengers who flew in with the index case from Italy. They could be anywhere.
“We must, therefore, err on the side of caution. We cannot afford to broaden the possibility of future infections.
“The economic impact of a widespread infestation of the virus in Nigeria will be catastrophic and will affect our national security, and status as Africa’s leading economy.
“The ravages of this scourge, which has officially been classified as a global pandemic, must not be allowed to test our already fragile economy.
“I urge that every political and any other differences be put aside. On my part, I am first a Nigerian, and I am willing and ready to work with anybody, at anytime, at whatever cost, to ensure the safety of this country, which is the only country we have to call our home, and her peoples.
We must act now. We must put Nigeria and her citizens first. We must ensure that our national policy is deliberately tailored to protect our most excellent national resource, the great Nigerian people.”