The Nigerian government has announced the extension of closure for another four weeks as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigerian government through the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced this extension at the daily Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.
This is as Nigeria is losing 17 billion naira monthly due to the closure of airport and airways.
Announcing the extension, Mustapha said: “Tomorrow marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights.
“We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks.”
The Nigerian government had on March 23 shut all international airports in the country for an initial period of one month.
Following the one month completion, the airport closure was extended by two weeks.
The move was part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus which has affected over three million people worldwide.
However, the government said emergency and essential flights could be operated from any of the airports within the period.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who said the sector is the most hit by the pandemic, added many airlines won’t survive the crisis.
He said, “Certainly in civil aviation, we’re in very difficult moments like everyone else. All of this started because someone travelled. Unfortunately, he came back hone with it and the consequence is what we’ve been going through.
“We are very aware of our responsibilities and the weight attached to this. We are worst hit among all the sectors. Some 17 billion is being lost by the airlines monthly, thanks to COVID-19. The sector is highly regulated and very coordinated and has set standards that must be followed at all times, regardless, because we speak to safety.
“This is the situation of civil aviation. It is really a pathetic one and I can guarantee you that several airlines won’t come out of this unfortunately.”