How poor airport screening earned Nigeria avoidable slot in n-COVID 19 world map
Findings from two busiest Nigerian international airports, Lagos and Abuja have shown lack of official commitments on the side of relevant government agencies in charge of safety checks against n-COVID 19 (coronavirus) infections.
At both Abuja and Lagos, checks and remarks from arriving passengers showed that rather than serious checks as obtained in other climes, mere leaflets are only given to them, an indication of poor caution to the trending global pandemic.
Observers say it was such compromising checks that eased in the Italian n-COVID 19 carrier at the Lagos Airport last Tuesday, February, 25, 2020 which has now raised national safety fears to the highest.
Business Hilights recalls that earlier last week, Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Ajayi Borroffice raised an issue of urgent national importance on airport checks concerning the global pandemic.
In his speech, he blamed the outbreak on the failure of enough health personnel at the airports and seaports who could undertake proper screening of passengers coming into the country.
The aggrieved lawmaker gave a download of his checks experience before landing in South Africa where he was made to undergo a 30 minutes test for coronavirus before he was allowed into the country.
But to his utter surprise, he disclosed that the situation was different on his arrival at the Nigerian airport when the health officials in the nation’s airports merely issued a form for passengers to indicate if they were sick or not. He made these points to be considered as important.
Senator Borroffice averred that “There is no form of any screening of passengers for Coronavirus by Nigerian officials at the airport.
“It is worrisome, situations where travellers coming into the country were not dully screened for the dreaded virus.”
Aligning with the Ondo North lawmaker, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan applauded Boroffice for raising the issue and further charged the Ministry of Health to heighten the safety checks just as other countries are doing to protect themselves from the deadly virus.
Senator Lawan made it clear that “We must take all the necessary measures at our ports, airports, seaports, to protect our people, adding that “If anybody is coming from China, he or she should be quarantined not even isolation for two weeks or four weeks, we have to protect the lives of Nigerians.”
Already, aviation security expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.) has called for improvements at the airports’ safety checks, stressing that “It is all about effective and efficient health profiling at the point of entry; do we have the necessary equipment and do we have skilled manpower in health management at the point of entry or adhoc manpower?
According to him, “Lagos State health departments seem to be sufficient for such emergency among the 36 states, what preparations are in place at the other states health services?
“If Murtala Muhammed International Airport is being complemented by the Lagos State Health Services, what are we expecting to do for other major airports in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kano?”
In his remarks, another aviation policy analyst, Olumide Ohunayo called for screening of international flight passengers from the foot of aircraft at all international airports in the country.
However, an insider top official of one of the federal agencies confided in our correspondent that there were no facilities or manpower to check the blood sample of every arriving passenger due to the large number except for the regular screening that had been going on before the first case was announced.
Whereas experts see the revelation as weighty, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, said there were screening points in all the country’s international airports adding that passengers had no reason to panic.
However, she was mute on why the Italian carrier of the virus could not be screened out on arrival after all.