Nigeria extends flights ban by further four weeks

Nigeria will extend a ban on all commercial flights in and out of the country by four weeks as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, revealed a government official yesterday.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said Thursday would mark the last day for the enforcement of the current ban. The extension is the second since March 23 when the Nigerian government announced the suspension of all flights.

“We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that…the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks,” Mustapha told reporters at a regular briefing of a presidential task force on coronavirus in the capital, Abuja.

Reporters were later told by Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika that there was a need to train airline staff in safety measures before flights restarted. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has recorded 3,145 cases of coronavirus and 103 deaths.

Lockdown restrictions were eased on Monday in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub and the capital, Abuja. Certain shops and businesses in the cities reopened as part of a ‘phased and gradual’ exit out of lockdown.

Elsewhere in the African aviation sector, Comair became the third South African airline to face extinction during the coronavirus crisis after filing for administration on Tuesday. State carriers South African Express and South African Airways are also on the brink of collapse.