The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has threatened to apprehend, quarantine, possibly prosecute, and ensure inbound passengers disobeying Covid-19 protocols borne the cost of testing for the coronavirus.
This follows reports that syndicates at some international airports outside the country specialize in providing fake results to Nigerians who are traveling back home.
This disclosure was made by the PTF National Incident Manager, Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed, on Monday in Abuja at the national briefing by the PTF.
He said that this is not a witch-hunt or punishment to anyone, but to make sure people travel safely and do not constitute a nuisance to their loved ones and the society when they return back home.
What the PTF National Incident Manager is saying
Mohammed in his statement said, “We intend to apply the full force of the law over such violators and this includes fines and imprisonment. Our aim is not to witch-hunt or punish anyone but to ensure people travel safely and when they return to the country that they do not constitute a nuisance to their loved ones and the community.
“PTF is aware of the report of syndicates at some international airports outside Nigeria which specialise in providing fake results to innocent Nigerians who are traveling back home. While investigating the matter … I will like to reiterate that it is the responsibility of passengers returning to Nigeria to ensure that they are tested before they start returning.
“You cannot be given a negative result when your samples have not to be taken, please understand this and comply,” he said.
Mohammed noted that on arrival in the country, if you have a fake result, you will be quarantined in any of our facilities and you will bear the expenses of the facility, feeding, and the laboratory test and after that, you are also liable to prosecution.
He said that the task force had received reports of technical challenges experienced by people returning to the country, adding that it had set up a backup manual process and communicated the same to all relevant stakeholders, including the airlines, the Ministry of Health, and diplomatic missions.
While pointing out that technical challenges were bound to occur from time to time, Mohammed said the task force believed that its technical team would be able to speedily resolve issues as soon as they occurred and that the backup system would also operate as an alternative to the online platform.
What you should know
- The Federal Government in recent times has gone hard on international travelers who violate the Covid-19 protocols as prescribed by the PTF due to the rising cases of coronavirus infections in the country.
- The government has announced the suspension of 200 passports belonging to Nigerian passengers in 2 different batches, who refused to undertake a second Covid-19 test upon arrival in the country.
- The PTF said that the suspended passengers will be stopped from traveling outside the country for a period of 6 months.