COVID -19: Nigeria slowly goes on lockdown

The ever-busy foyer of the National Assembly Complex scanty, because the chamber closed its doorways to the general public over the pandemic… yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA

• Hundreds Of Nigerian Students Stranded In Sudan, As Khartoum International Airport Shuts Down
• NMA Directs All Medical Associations To Suspend Strike
• FG Shuts Three Int’l Airports
• Stranded Nigerians Recount Ordeal

Hundreds of Nigerian college students had been left stranded in Khartoum, the Sudan capital, following the federal government’s directive that each one faculties be closed indefinitely over the worry of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Already, the Sudanese authorities have directed the Nigerian Embassy in Khartoum to evacuate all the scholars again to Nigeria, even because the worldwide airport in Khartoum has been shut down quickly over the COVID-19 pandemic.

At house, the federal authorities has closed three worldwide airports over the illness.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 yesterday introduced the closure as a part of measures taken to fight the unfold of the illness.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman PTF, Boss Mustapha, said that from midnight as we speak, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa could be closed to all worldwide flights.

However, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos would stay opened to and settle for worldwide flights, regardless of the kind of operations.

An announcement issued by the Director of Information within the SGF’s workplace, Willie Bassey, enjoined all stakeholders to collaborate with Port Health Services within the identification of suspects/individuals at factors of entry and to convey such individuals to the eye of Port Health Officers for applicable motion.

Besides, the PTF urged all Nigerians to stay calm and cooperate with the directions already issued by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on modes of worship and gatherings presently, not exceeding 50 individuals, assuring that sufficient and applicable info could be made out there sooner or later.

An official memo from the workplace of the Director General (Protocol), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan and addressed to the Nigerian Embassy in Khartoum drew the eye of the Nigerian authorities to the closure of all faculties, universities and schools in Sudan because of COVID-19 with impact from March 15, including: “Due to those sudden measures and matched with the truth that nearly all of the non-public and public scholar hostels have requested the entire college students to vacate the hostels premises instantly, nearly the entire quantity of Nigerian college students finding out in Sudan are actually stranded, because the airport too has been closed.

“It is pertinent to state that this has become a great source of concern to the embassy, as well as parents,” the memo said.

However, a window of alternative was provided to the Nigerian authorities to evacuate the stranded college students with Badr Airline “with effect from Wednesday, March 18 to yesterday on compassionate grounds.”

Besides, the scholars, underneath the aegis of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sudan (NANSS), in a press release expressing the travails of the scholars, stated the worldwide airport in Khartoum was closed in response to the illness.

General Secretary of NANSS, Imran Aminu Tukur, defined: “NANSS made efforts to tell the Nigerian Embassy in Sudan to intervene within the matter of a whole bunch of Nigerian college students left stranded. The Embassy stated NANSS ought to inform all the scholars in Sudan that flight could be made out there.

“This is to inform Nigerian students in Sudan that NANSS has been able to confirm that the information about the flight being made available has not been officially approved by Khartoum International Airport.”

Meanwhile, the previous chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs within the eighth National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, whereas reacting to the event, stated he reliably learnt that “a plane carrying the Nigerian students will be taking off from Khartoum later today (yesterday).”

He urged the federal government to “give them waiver and permit them to land, so that they don’t get stranded in Sudan, as they have since been sent out of the hostels by their universities.”

A Nigerian primarily based within the United States (US), David Ebom, and his spouse, Maryann, who got here to Nigeria three weeks in the past to take part within the wedding ceremony ceremony of a member of the family, are a few of these caught at house because of the journey ban by the US and Nigerian governments, as they can’t return as deliberate.

In a cellphone chat with The Guardian, yesterday, Ebom stated: “First of all, they cancelled my flight when US President Donald Trump introduced that there might be no flight coming in from Europe. I used to be purported to have flown out via Lufthansa they usually usually cease by in Frankfurt, Germany.

“So, that affected us, as Lufthansa cancelled our flight on Friday last week and on Monday that we were supposed to fly out, all of a sudden, Lufthansa said we could come and book and fly, just two hours to the time and that really affected us.

“So, I had to book another flight, Delta, that flies direct from Lagos to Atlanta, but then, President Muhammadu Buhari, few days ago, announced that 13 countries, including US, should not fly to Nigeria and no flight can come in to take us home and my children are there (in the US) and my business is there. That is what we are passing through right now. It’s pretty difficult.”

On how he’s dealing with the state of affairs, Ebom stated: “I’m so fortunate that my mother-in-law is there caring for my kids and I’m glad they’re again from college staying at house and I talk with them each day and guarantee that they aren’t to exit and there are sufficient issues, like foodstuffs, for them to eat.

“For my enterprise, I’ve my private assistant who opens all my mails, scan and ship them to me and I monitor them from right here, as a result of I’ve a system that screens my workplace wherever I’m.

“But certainly, the situation cannot be the same as when you are on ground. We all pray this trying period comes to pass, because it is affecting lots of things.”

Another Nigerian, Mr. Ross Alabo George, a geospatial advisor for ECOWAS, advised The Guardian that the journey restriction has stalled his deliberate journey to the United Kingdom (UK) and France subsequent week.

“I am supposed to travel to the UK next week. Apparently, now I cannot embark on the trip. I know of a lot people who have set up their travel plans. January to March is usually a quarter of planning, setting structures in place and all that,” he stated.

George, who’s amongst a group of consultants engaged on the Geospatial mapping of a six-lane highway from Lagos to Ivory Coast, stated the journey restriction would adversely have an effect on the mission.

“We are literally on a world mission. We have simply completed the sector survey in Ghana. I’ve a gathering within the UK and France to have a look at outcomes. Now, that is the place the worldwide financial system might be hit arduous.

“The second and third quarter is project quarter. They are six months of active implementation of plans. For us, it has affected us. We have work meetings in Europe, but all have been suspended,” he added.

UK-based Oluwatimilehin (surname withheld), who arrived Nigeria two weeks in the past with preliminary plan to return to his base tomorrow, stated: “There is hardly something I can do about it than to attend it out. Actually, I got here in with my good friend, who can be a UK-based Nigerian. We had deliberate to go to Nigeria briefly lengthy earlier than the COVID-19 state of affairs, however sadly the state of affairs bought out of hand a few days after we arrived Nigeria.

“I got here again to supervise my companies and resolve some household points which have been executed, however sadly my good friend and I can now not return tomorrow as deliberate, due to the federal authorities journey ban as a result of pandemic.

“However, I don’t have any problem with the ban because from the feedbacks I get, the situation is worse in the UK and I feel grateful to be in Nigeria at these times.”

He added: “As the case is correct now with the pandemic, I’m not in a rush to return house, ban or no ban. Even if the journey ban is lifted, I simply won’t return to UK till the virus is contained, as a result of irrespective the panic state of affairs, Nigeria is safer than most locations. Things are tough within the UK, folks barely exit of their properties and it’s nearly not possible to get primary meals and home items from shops, as they’re all closed down, firms are shut down, and primary technique of livelihood are unavailable.

So, belief me, I might slightly be right here in Nigeria and really feel secure with the preventive measures than be within the UK, though, I want my household got here again with me. If I had envisaged the sudden turnaround earlier than I left for Nigeria, I might have taken my spouse and children alongside.

“I’m somewhat frustrated, because they are struggling with the lockdown and lack, but I believe things will settle in no time. I can only be optimistic at this point,” he enthused.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has directed all medical associations which have declared industrial actions in opposition to their administration to droop all actions and help in containing the worldwide pandemic in Nigeria.

In this regard NMA urged the Association of Resident Doctors (ARDs) within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Gombe State, ESUT-Parklane and Kaduna, in addition to NMA in Cross River State to report again to work and deal with Nigerians.

Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, President of the affiliation, Dr. Francis Faduyile, assured that the nationwide NMA would take over the dispute and work together with the completely different organs/companies of presidency to deal with the problems that led to the strike motion.

He noticed that the gesture was geared in direction of treating fellow Nigerians, however the inhuman therapy meted on its members nationwide, warning that NMA wouldn’t hesitate to take applicable motion(s) in opposition to authorities organs/companies that fail to reciprocate this gesture by honouring agreements with their staff after containing the COVID-19 scourge.

He known as on the federal authorities to supply all the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the completely different hospitals, in order that well being personnel can adequately and appropriately handle their sufferers.

The NMA president additionally requested that isolation wards be upgraded all around the states of the federation and the FCT for correct therapy of these contaminated.

He said: “The NMA has, due to this fact, set out the next tips in direction of the administration of COVID-19 in Nigeria. All medical personnel have been directed to reply positively to this nationwide emergency.

“We call on all doctors, both in private and public health facilities, to be at their duty posts to promptly treat Nigerians who reported to their hospitals. We call on all health professionals to ensure that they observe international best practices when treating their patients.”

Faduyile implored all state NMA to arrange a five-man committee of well being professionals, together with medical doctors, pharmacies and nurses, to observe the extent of preparedness and administration of hospitals, whereas calling on the general public to observe all directions given by the federal government in an effort to include this illness.

According to him, the nationwide NMA committee on Emerging and Re-emerging Disease could be strengthened to work together with the federal authorities in an effort to see that COVID-19 scourge is contained and wiped off the nation.

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