DESPITE directives by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari GCFR on the continuous closure of the Nigerian air space, 26 Americans landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) with plans of further travel to Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
Information gathered is that the Americans are oil workers from Shell who are working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) arrived on an Air X Charter aircraft A343 and will be taken onboard a chartered flight to their destination.
The President had earlier on reiterated the suspension of movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, stating that special permits will be issued on a needs basis.
We can authoritatively say that the Americans got clearance from the relevant aviation authorities to land and transit but workers around who made this information known are worried about adherence to the Covid-19 Protocol which emphasizes screening and isolation for 14-days.
As at the time the aircraft was on ground there were no Port Health personnel on ground probably due to the order of the president directing the Ministry of Health to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads.
The President yesterday said,” Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.
A source who gave the information under condition of anonymity told our reporter that the authorities were actually awaiting clearance to allow the American have access to fly to , Cross River, which currently has no recorded case of the COVID-19 virus.
This has created further controversy as under the COVID-19 Protocol as initiated by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 headed by the SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha and being spread by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) all returning travelers to Nigeria must stay home and avoid contact with people including family for 14-days.
The source who queried the action of airlifting the foreigners from America given the country’s current status said it would be irresponsible not to take concrete steps to ensure these foreigners are free of any infection before giving them access to the countries interior.
A top official who spoke with our reporter however said arrangements have been made to keep the Americans under self isolation for 14 days to confirm their health status before they are allowed in ; details were not given on where or how.
As at the time of filing this report the Americans have since been transported to Cross River State.
Currently, the United States of America has a record 142, 737 total cases, with 135686 active; 2489 deceased and well over 4562 recovered.