By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Federal Government Tuesday, said it declined request from five governors who sought approval to fly out of their states during this lockdown in an effort to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister of of Aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed this in Abuja while responding to questions at Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.
Sirika debunked claimed that the elites including governors were being given special privileges to fly during the lockdown.
According to him, every single flight approved is for essential reasons, which are either diplomatic requests, medical or food supplies or evacuation of patients not necessarily with COVID-19 symptoms among others.
A few of them might be a diplomatic request from diplomatic community, which must go through foreign affairs, or it might be evacuation due to illness of other kind and those evacuations may also need staff of a teaching hospital like I said before.
“Every single flight that you will see, every single one that we will approve will be an essential flight. And that essential flight, 98 percent of them will be connected to COVID-19.
“On not reopening airports due to extension of lockdown, trust me, whoever is approved to fly privately, governor or not is on an essential trip and 98 percent is related to COVID-19. There is no exception to governors, I have denied several of such flights including two governors from south-south, two from south- East meanwhile three of them are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one is from north central.
“Just to say that once you see a flight approved, it is diligently done, it must be essential, it must be COVID-19 related or some other flights like essential cargo that will bring in medicines or equipments or something related to our own wellbeing like food and so on and so forth. So please trust and bear with us while this lasts, it will be short,” the Minister said.