The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has condemned the violation of the new protocols and guidelines put in place at the airports by some Very Important Persons (VIPs) barely a week after the airports were reopened.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Hamisu Yadudu, said there were two incidents where VIPs broke the COVID-19 protocols and assaulted airport officials.
- Nigeria records 463 new COVID-19 infections as total cases hit 33,616
- COVID-19: 24% of Nigerians don’t have hand washing soap — NBS
He said at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, there was an incident when a VIP said to be a former governor allegedly assaulted a FAAN Aviation security personnel.
Also, on Tuesday, there was another incident in Port Harcourt when a governor and his entourage allegedly broke the protocols at Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State.
Speaking on Tuesday night at a webinar to review the industry restart organised by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the FAAN MD said assaulting the airport officials could be demoralising.
He said the situation was unfortunate, insisting that FAAN would take the VIPs to the highest authority to prevent a recurrence.
He, however, said the authority is reviewing the security protocols with its AVSEC team to ensure any VIP that violates any of the guidelines was blocked from boarding the aircraft.
“We will fully activate our mechanism to prevent such defaults,” he said, adding that violating the protocols by any VIP could endanger the lives of other passengers travelling.
Daily Trust reports that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had earlier directed every VIP to respect the new public health protocols and guidelines established in the wake of the reopening.
Daily Trust reports that Lagos and Abuja airports were reopened for commercial flights last Wednesday after about four months shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, four other airports; Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri were reopened.
All other airports in the country are expected to be reopened within the next seven days after inspection.
Port Harcourt incident
He said: “A few hours ago (on Tuesday), a Governor landed in Port Harcourt and he didn’t bother to go through the protocols at the arrival.
“In fact, he almost literally broke through the arrangement and his entire entourage went to town.
“That’s the second instance after the Kano incidence on Saturday.
“This is a stark violation of the Presidential directive, PTF guidelines and our own protocols which we put on ground.
“We are escalating this and we are in contact with the Honourable Minister, we are not going to take it lying down and definitely we would not take it because we went through a lot to develop our protocols, to implement them and to get our people in the right spirit to perform for our nation.
“Unfortunately, people are out to make our people demoralised, lose confidence or to start underperforming or even ‘misperforming.’
“So, for those reasons we cannot have an aviation industry with staff on the frontline lacking in confidence.
“Our business is a confidence business.
“Without confidence, you do not perform either as an engineer, a dispatcher or a pilot.
“Passengers don’t come without confidence.
“So confidence is aviation, aviation is confidence.
“So it is in the interest of our safety and all other stakeholders.
“A VIP that violates these protocols is endangering not only himself but hundreds of others within the vicinity of the airport.
“So this is unfortunate.
“This is the beginning of what we have been fearing.
“All other passengers have behaved very well and on the first day we extended our congratulations and appreciation to all our stakeholders for their cooperation.
“But this latest trend on Saturday and earlier today is very discouraging.
“We will escalate it and we use this opportunity to urge all our stakeholders here to please work with us and further re-enlighten, we have been doing this for the past two months, all the other people are getting it but the VIPs are not getting it.”
Earlier on Tuesday in a statement, FAAN has condemned the irresponsible conduct of the former governor, who blatantly violated the Public Health procedures (COVID-19) on travels at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport on Saturday 11th July 2020.
FAAN, in a statement, said his action was irresponsible and endangers all other airport users.
“It is unacceptable, and as such it has been duly escalated.”
According to the statement, the former Zamfara state governor refused to adhere to the protocols and procedures put in place by the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 by forcefully pushing away an officer of the Environment Department when he insisted that his luggage must be disinfected.
“The former governor said the officer should have known he is a VIP.
“FAAN hereby cautions all airport users, especially our esteemed VIPs, to please respect the Presidential directive by observing the Public Health travel protocols put in place to protect all air travellers against infection and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”