The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has come under intense fire for conducting an emergency simulation exercise at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, a few hours after the first confirmed coronavirus outbreak in the country.
In a Friday statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN said the emergency simulation exercise was presently ongoing at the airport.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) wishes to inform passengers, airlines and the general public that the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, is presently holding an emergency simulation exercise.
“The exercise, which is an operational requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for aerodromes is aimed at ascertaining the level of preparedness of the airport in real-life emergency situations.
“Consequently, the Authority will like to appeal to the public, especially those residing around the airport not to entertain any fear, as the exercise is only a mock,” the statement said.
But Nigerians who took to social media to react to the statement wondered why FAAN did not step up screening exercises to halt the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria.
The Herald recalls that the Senate on Thursday decried the shoddy screening for coronavirus at the nation’s airports.
This was after Deputy Senate Leader, Sen. Ajayi Boroffice described the poor screening at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja as “frightening”.
A commenter, Don Kassidy, observed that the exercise is a normal exercise that is conducted in case of an emergency evacuation, while Adede Ukeme Udom added that it tests the readiness of security and safety/emergency services to any emergency.
But another commenter, Adewolu Jeleel Aderibigbe said that a similar exercise should have been conducted to ramp up screening for the virus.
“Must we wait until disaster happens before we flag red alert? I don’t just understand this country.
“More also, it shouldn’t be limited to Lagos Airport alone but all the international airports in the country,” he stated.
Musa Abdulsalam said that the Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, deserved to be sacked for the shoddy preparedness that allowed the virus to slip into the country.
“This Minister of Health supposed to be sacked for negligence we all know it reaches many countries through airport why he shouldn’t be proactive? They did nothing before it happened here because they didn’t value us citizens,” he stated.
David Elaigwu Abah said, “For every plane that lands in SA the airport authorities ensure that it screens everyone on board before they can step a foot on the South African ground.
“The so-called Italian man came into Nigeria on the 25th but was discovered by the govt on the 27th. What a country?
“How did he pass through the airport without being checked? Did they also checked those he boarded the flight with?”
Ola Sunday said, “Campaign after election!! Why are we like this? When are we going to be proactive against all odd? Why do we have to wait for things to get out of hands before running for remedy?
“When are we going to learn how to avoid/preventing un-warranted and unnecessary wahala in this country? Shame on all this clueless government.