There are indications that the ban on interstate movement across Nigeria would be lifted on June 21.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, gave the hint on Tuesday, noting that once domestic flights resume, it would not be ideal to maintain the ban on interstate travel.
Domestic flights are expected to resume on June 21. The interstate borders have been closed since March to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
However, there have been reports of the failure of this measure. Security agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance have been accused of aiding motorists to flout it.
But responding to a question during the PTF’s 39th joint national briefing on Tuesday, Aliyu said the ban on interstate travels still remains in place with the exception of movement of agricultural produce, petroleum products, manufactured goods and essential services.
Clarifying the issue, Aliyu said: “When we say from June 21, we mean that we are preparing the aviation sector towards that date.
“That date may not necessarily be June 21; it could be June 26, 28, or even July 1. “It depends on whether or not they are prepared.
“So we are giving them a time frame of three weeks to start preparing for domestic flights.
“Once we open up the skies to domestic flights, then we would have to review the arrangements regarding interstate travel because you cannot have a ban on interstate travel and you have people flying from one state to another.
“We are giving an opportunity for the aviation sector that is heavily regulated to make sure that they start getting their acts together so that airports open up in a safe way.”
Also, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said that the date for resumption of international flights would soon be released. The minister said industry stakeholders should start developing protocols towards flight resumption.
“The aircraft has been parked for three months, we have to ensure that within now and that time, these airplanes are good and safe to fly,” he said.
He also explained that pilots and other members of the cabin crew would be required to undergo medicals and have their licenses renewed ahead of the planned resumption.