FAAN, AirPeace Airline Are Super Spreaders Of COVID-19 – HURIWA Alleges

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Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has accused the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), private airlines such as Airpeace Airline as the super spreaders of the dreaded COVID-19 Health challenge because of their deliberate criminality in refusing to enforce the relevant World Health Organisation and the National Centre for Disease Control’s protocols such as social distancing at the jam-packed boarding hall of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja this Festive period.

HURIWA said the NCDC is obliged to compel the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Airpeace Airline and other private airlines making a kill this festive period to observe global best practices and enforce the regulations guiding the conduct of such commercial enterprises during this health emergency of COVID-19 especially with the recent resurgence of the Omicron variant of the health challenge.

“NCDC is simply being hypocritical if it pretends not to have noticed that most airports in Nigeria and especially the Abuja Airport is incredibly overcrowded and deliberately so because of the obvious reality that such unprofessional businesses like the Air Peace Airline amongst a few others are encouraging touting and the Criminal hiking of ticketing costs and the illegal reselling of already purchased tickets thereby encouraging large crowds of anxious passengers to crowd up massively with many people in desperate search of where to obtain their boarding passes.”

“If NCDC is unaware then it should demand from the FAAN the CCTV records of the transactions that took place especially from 23rd December 2021 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport so it can see the amount of uncontrollable crowds that mingled inside the boarding hall of the Airport with dozens of children wailing for want of ventilation due to over congestion of desperate travellers with the boarding hall Looking like a market square with all kinds of unauthorised persons mingling amongst passengers just as the operatives from security agencies were also part of the rowdiness and deliberate disorder because some of the uniformed officers jump queues just so they can obtain boarding passes for their bosses. So which security operatives is NCDC asking to enforce the safety protocols when most of them constitute huge nuisances at the airports?”

HURIWA recalled that NCDC, in a fresh directive signed by its Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said: “Since the onset of the pandemic, security agencies have played a critical role in the national and sub-national response, most critically in supporting the implementation of public health policies as instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria. This includes the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 which makes provision for the enforcement of the implementation of existing guidelines on mass gathering and adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the country.”

HURIWA quoted the NCDC boss as maintaining thus: “There is generally poor compliance with the NPIs across the country and this has continued even into this Yuletide, which, in combination with low coverage of COVID-19 vaccination, is a recipe for a big surge in cases and admission to treatment centres. As celebrations for Christmas and the New Year commence, the NCDC urges security personnel to work with heads of communities, associations, institutions, religious bodies and other key stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of existing public health policies and regulations”.

HURIWA however expressed disappointment that the relevant regulatory agencies such as the NCDC and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria could abandon their primary mandate and allow indiscipline and lawless private operators of airlines especially Airpeace Airline amongst a few others to encourage touting and other criminality related to disappearance and resale of already purchased tickets thereby encouraging large crowds to saunter around the boarding hall in search of their boarding passes just as some are frustrated by these Criminal conducts of the staff of these airlines to miss their scheduled flights and this Overcrowding predisposed citizens to such threats like the COVID-19 due to non adherence to safety protocols.

“For avoidance of doubts, scientists say the risk factors of COVID-19 at airports are:

  1. Overcrowding especially in an enclosed space.
  2. Unsanitized hands and luggages.
  3. Prolonged waiting time.
  4. Unvaccinated travelers and visitors.
  5. Elderly with underlying medical conditions.
  6. Pregnant travelers who are immunosuppressed and exposed to overcrowded areas.
  7. Physical contact when social distancing is breeched.
  8. Provoked travelers who verbally communicate without the use of masks.
  9. Vulnerable children who may not be adequately immunized for age and exposed to large crowd.
  10. Lack of a “functional” infrared thermometer at checkpoints,” HURIWA averred.

The Rights group in a media Statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National director of media Miss Zainab Yusuf stated that the NCDC must call FAAN, AIRPEACE AIRLINE and other private operators of airlines especially at the Abuja Airport to order and compel them to ensure total compliance to these global best practices and to first and foremost eliminate touting and other criminality that leads to Overcrowding at the boarding hall of the Airport.

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