COVID-19: Nigeria shuts academic institutions, PH, Enugu, Kano Airports

* All other airports will be closed eventually ─Federal Government

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Ministry of Education has ordered immediate closure of all of both public and private tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide, following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country and as part of measures to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

Mr. Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, confirmed the closure of all academic institutions in a communiqué Thursday, March 19.

Mr. Echono who gave the order on behalf of Malam Adamu Adamu, also noted that all 104 Unity Schools in the country should close on or before March 26, 2020, as a proactive step aimed at preventing the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus in the country.

The Minister asked all the Principals of the Unity Colleges to fast-track the ongoing second-term examinations and shut down these institutions of learning until further notice.

“We have directed all higher institutions to close this weekend. Unity Schools that have completed their exams are to close immediately.

“Others are to hurry and close the latest on 26th March,” the statement noted.

The Minister for Education also stated that the Management of all the Unity Colleges should immediately activate the necessary emergency procedures and processes.

These he noted include the provision of alcohol based hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities, adding that students should strictly adhere to the principles and best practices of good hygiene.

Malam Adamu also directed the Principals to immediately report any suspicious case to the nearest health authorities, emphasising that nothing should be taken for granted at this delicate time of the global pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has also ordered the closure of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu; and Kano International Airport, Kano,  as part of measures to prevent cases of Coronavirus infection from, especially through air travellers flying into the country in recent times.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has hinted at the plan to close all airports across the country eventually, in respect of the need to further curb the spread of Coronavirus.

Besides Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano airports, the two remaining international airports in Lagos and Abuja will ultimately be closed to flight operations as part of preventive measures against the Coronavirus pandemic, declared the Federal Government.

ConsumerConnect recalls that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Friday had announced shut down of the Kano, Enugu and Port-Harcourt International Airports, from 12a.m. Saturday.

Senator Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister for Aviation, conveyed the decision to State House Correspondents after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the measures in place to enforce the March 21 travel restriction on flights and citizens of high-risk countries from entering into Nigeria.

The Minister said the Murtala Muhammadu International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would also be closed.

On why Abuja and Lagos International Airports, which record the highest number of flights were not mentioned among the closed airports, Sirika said that the closure of airports was a gradual process.

He said: “Well I think differently; this is my individual perspective. At some points these airports must be closed, this is my opinion.

“But like I said there is Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to which I am a member.

“But certainly and definitely at some point, these airports must be closed (Abuja and Lagos), all of them in Nigeria will be closed.

“I think it is the safest thing to do because these things, they multiply exponentially.

“But for a better brief I think we have the forum, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, they will come up with a statement.

“But I can guarantee you that sooner than later the airports will be closed. We would close down these airports and we would issue the necessary notices to airmen as to what time they would be closed.

“I think it will be very soon. It is better safe than sorry. And I think in my opinion, this is my personal opinion. If you want to catch a fish empty the water,” the Minister stated.

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