As a precautionary measure against the spread of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease that is ravaging some parts of West Africa into Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ordered the national carrier of The Gambia, Gambian Bird to stop operations into the country.
In a letter to the airline by the regulatory body dated August 8, 2014 and signed by the acting Director General, Benedict Adeyileka, NCAA said it was not satisfied with the measures the airline put in place to ensure that it did not airlift passengers infected with the virus and therefore it should stop operation.
“NCAA has reviewed the measures put in place by your airline as contained in your letter of 30th July, 2014 and have found these measures unsatisfactory. Consequently, your fights into Nigeria have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect until such a time that you are able to put in place acceptable and satisfactory measures.
The regulatory body reminded the airline that all ports of entry into Nigeria, including airports, seaports and land borders have been placed on red alert so as to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Part of the efforts put in place by NCAA was to direct all airlines operating into Nigeria from Guinea, Free Town and Monrovia to put in place adequate measures to ensure that passengers with this disease were not boarded and brought into the country. Such measures may include suspension of flights into these countries,” the letter said.
According to NCAA, the Ebola Virus Disease has resulted into the reported cases of 1,700 infections, out of which there have been 932 deaths as at date from the outbreak of the disease, across the West African region, particularly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
“You will recall that a Liberian citizen who arrived Lagos from Monrovia, Liberia via Togo eventually died,” NCAA said.
About a fortnight ago, NCAA also suspended Asky Airlines which airlifted Sawyer to Nigeria for not meeting the prescribed measures by the Authority to properly screen passengers and ensure that they were Ebola free before boarding them and bringing them to Nigeria.
Asky responded by cancelling its operations to the affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia before NCAA lifted the ban and allowed the airline to continue to operate into the country.