Coronavirus: Nigerian lawmakers snub airport screening

Femi Gbajabiamila
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila


Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, has asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to direct all members of the House who recently returned from trips abroad to report to the nearest Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) office with immediate effect for screening.

This was confirmed in a letter dated 21st March 2020, which was signed by Abba Kyari and sent to Femi Gbajabiamila.

According to Kyari, the directive was necessary after the Minister of Health was informed that some members of the House of Representatives, who recently returned from foreign trips, refused to subject themselves to screening at airports.

The letter reads: “It has been brought to the Honourable Minister of Health, recently reported to this office that some members of the House of Representatives are refusing to subject themselves to medical screening at airports.

“As you are aware, these airport screenings are our primary line of defense and refusal by any citizen to subject to these tests is a threat to our nation.

“Accordingly, you are kindly requested to direct all members of the House of Representatives who returned to Nigeria from foreign trips to report themselves to the nearest NCDC test center with immediate effect.”

Reacting to the letter sent by Abba Kyari, a spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu, said since there are cameras at the airport, officials should go through the camera to identify all those who returned to the country recently and refused to through the screening so that they can be traced.

Kalu, however, noted that the letter was a wake-up call.

He said, “There is a screening process at the airport that is supposed to be obeyed by every patriotic citizen of this country irrespective of status. It doesn’t matter if you are the President of the country, a Senator or a member of the House or a governor.

“Health is very important. If yours is not important to you that of others is important to them and any negligent act by being careless might affect a whole lot of Nigerians.” 

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