While making the disclosure during a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the National Coordinator of the task force, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said the step has become necessary to ease congestion on arrival at airports and to avoid the spread of infections.

Aliyu noted that with over 4,000 passengers arriving daily in Lagos and Abuja airports, the use of paper at the airports would not be sustainable. He added that the online procedure would make it easier to manage passengers, following the increase in the number of passengers that could fly into the country.

Dr. Aliyu said, “We have already increased the number of passengers that could fly into Lagos to 2,500 per day, while that of Abuja has been increased to 1,600 per day. We cannot continue to handle paperwork with this number of passengers coming into Nigeria.”

He also pointed out that the online procedure which involves producing a QR certificate before proceeding to the airport would also reduce the stress that passengers go through on arrival at the airport terminals.

Furthermore, he said, “The portal has three sections. The first section has to do with filling a straightforward questionnaire. The second step is to upload the COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) result that should be negative at the point of boarding. At this stage, you have two options, either to go ahead and pay or download your QR Code.

“If you chose to download the temporary QR code, you can print it and board with it and pay on arrival in Nigeria. Our strong recommendation is that if you do not want to spend too much time at the airport, print out the final QR Code. If you have the final QR Code, it takes minutes to go through the airport protocol in Nigeria.”

“Since passengers filled questionnaires and PCR results can be seen online, it is easy to check after seven days if a passenger tested positive. Then, we can easily go back and check whether what we have on our system is a genuine PCR result or not.”

Aliyu also said that they will check the questionnaire to see if an intending passenger admitted to having some symptoms before boarding.

The Federal Government has disclosed that it would double the number of airports across the country by the end of 2023.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, October 14, 2020, during the public presentation of the 2021 budget proposal in Abuja. He was responding to a question on which airports the government intends to develop in 2021.

While speaking at the event, which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, he said that a lot of work would be done across airports in the country.

Nigeria has about 31 airports currently, with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) operating 26 of the facilities, while others are largely run by states.

Sirika said, “Since this administration came in, we drew our roadmap in trying to improve on civil aviation and transportation in general. We understood the importance of air connectivity. So we believe investment in this sector will do very well for our economy. Before the end of 2023, we would have doubled the number of airports in Nigeria.”

He also said, “We have a saying that one-mile-long road leads to nowhere, but one-mile-long runway leads to everywhere. We understand the importance of aviation infrastructure as a critical component for the working of our economy and they are also national security assets.”

The Minister disclosed that the aviation industry was the fastest growing sector in the country and the current administration had developed a roadmap to improve civil aviation and air transportation in general.

He said airports were being built in various locations in Nigeria and that more were in the works.