Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar calls for travel restrictions from coronavirus ravaged countries

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Nigeria’s former vice president Atiku Abubakar on Thursday called for travel and flight restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus into Africa’s most populous nation.

“Two weeks ago, I had cause to urge the Federal Government to restrict flights from nations with a high prevalence of the coronavirus plague. After I made that call, several countries have seen the prudence in taking such precautions,” Atiku said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

“This is a patriotic call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take every reasonable step to protect the citizens of Nigeria, by temporarily suspending flights to and from such countries, until we build up our ability to contain the coronavirus,” he added. 

Read full statement.

Two weeks ago, I had cause to urge the Federal Government to restrict flights from nations with a high prevalence of the coronavirus plague. After I made that call, several countries have seen the prudence in taking such precautions. 

This is a patriotic call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to take every reasonable step to protect the citizens of Nigeria, by temporarily suspending flights to and from such countries, until we build up our ability to contain the corona virus. 

It will be recalled that to date, we are yet to identify and or locate multiple passengers who flew in with the index case from Italy. They could be anywhere. We must, therefore, err on the side of caution. We cannot afford to broaden the possibility of future infections. 

The economic impact of a widespread infestation of the virus in Nigeria will be catastrophic, and will affect our national security, and status as Africa’s leading economy. The ravages of this scourge, which has officially been classified as a global pandemic, must not be allowed to test our already fragile economy. 

I urge that every political and any other differences be put aside. On my own part, on this issue, I am first a Nigerian, and I am willing and ready to work with anybody, at anytime, at whatever cost, to ensure the safety of this country, which is the only country we have to call our home, and her peoples. 

We must act now. We must put Nigeria and her citizens first. We must ensure that our national policy is deliberately tailored to protect our greatest national resource, the great Nigerian people.

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