The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has no plan to ban Liberian airlines from coming into Nigeria, following a fresh outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia.
Fan Ndubuoke, NCAA’s general manager (public affairs), said this on Friday, during an interview with NAN in Lagos.
Two months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the West African country free of the virus, Liberia recorded another outbreak of the disease.
The Liberian authorities say they are monitoring at least 100 people thought to have been in contact with Abraham Memaigar, a 17-year-old boy, who died as a result of the virus on June 28.
A NAN correspondent, who visited the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos saw port health officials screening both inbound and outbound passengers.
Ndubuoke said Ebola prevention and control was a collaborative effort by the NCAA, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the ministry of internal affairs, the ministry of health and port health services.
According to him, rather than banning the airlines, the various agencies have intensified necessary preventive measures at all the international airports in the country.
“I am not aware of any move to ban any Liberian airline from coming into the country,” he said.
“Last year, we were the ones that banned AskAir when we knew that the airline brought in Mr Patrick Sawyer. We stopped the airline from operating into our country.”
Ndubuoke said adequate facilities were in place at the port health office, where inbound and outbound passengers were adequately screened.
He assured the public and intending passengers that all government agencies were on their guard not to allow any passenger who refused to be screened into the country.
“We are on the watch now. We are on our guard and we are not going to let anybody come into the country without going through proper screening,” he said.
“On daily basis, we take people we suspect into a quarantined room but we don’t make noise about it. We can’t afford to let the Sawyer incident happen again.”
He added that the authority would not hesitate to sanction any airline that violated the mandatory screening at its various check points.
“Airlines on their own are also doing the same thing. It is mandatory that they screen their passengers at their check points,” he said.
On his part, Yakubu Dati, general manager (corporate affairs), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said the screening points at all international airports in the country were being maintained, to ensure safety of passengers.
Dati said FAAN was collaborating with other agencies to prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases at the various entry points.
Femi Adeola and Kazeem Kadiri, two passengers who spoke to NAN, expressed satisfaction with the screening exercise, calling for its sustenance in the light of the fresh outbreak of Ebola in Liberia.
The ministry of health has also produced a document on the national aviation public emergency preparedness plan.
The document, drawn mainly from the template provided by the international civil aviation organisation (ICAO), would serve as a guiding material for suspected cases of communicable diseases within the Nigerian airspace.