The Nigerian government has said 2,000 travellers who flouted the country’s travel protocols against the rampaging coronavirus pandemic have had their international passports suspended for one year.
The government said the defaulters failed to undergo the mandatory arrival quarantine and other protocols after returning into the country.
The national incident manager (NIM) of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mukhtar Muhammad, disclosed this at the committee’s briefing on Monday.
Mr Muhammed said the government has insisted that passengers who arrived into the country, especially from those nations it described as “high risk” countries must quarantine in a facility provided by the government.
He said; “We have included the provision of quarantine for passengers who arrived from these high risk countries and people who evade these protocols have been penalised by publishing their names as well as by suspending their passports for one year.
“Let me assure you that so far we have published the list of over 2,000 people who evaded quarantine in our health facilities. And we have gone ahead to ensure that their passports are suspended so for every action there are consequences.”
The steering committee on May 1, 2021 issued a travel advisory for passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey.
The government noted that the precautionary measures are a necessary to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and will break the chain of transmission to the population.
According to the committee’s chairman, Boss Mustapha, under the measures, passengers arriving from/or that have visited any of these three countries within fourteen (14) days prior to the visit to Nigeria, are required to follow mandatory arrival quarantine and testing protocols in designated facilities.
The government later reviewed the protocols and added South Africa to the list.
But it recently removed India from the list when it felt there were signs of significant improvement in the coronavirus infection management in the country.
However, the federal government has consistently expressed its regret over the attitude of some Nigerians who it noted had flagrantly flouted the protocols.
In the past, the government has publicly declared some of the identified defaulters as persons of concern, saying they constitute risk to the larger Nigerian society.
Some of these defaulters, the government noted, failed to observe the compulsory isolation or present themselves for the PCR repeat test on day seven,
The PSC has previously published the names and passport numbers of the defaulters.
On UK travel protocols
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has also reacted to the frustration of many Nigerians over the travel protocols imposed on many Nigerians visiting the United Kingdom.
The government said it was aware of the difficulties being experienced by the nation’s nationals who are made to pay for two additional COVID-19 tests upon arrival in the UK and also pay for quarantine even after they had already been fully vaccinated against the pandemic in their home country.
Many had interpreted the UK’s policy to mean its rejection of the vaccination campaign in the country, and this casts doubt on the standards of the vaccines administered.
But in his reaction during the briefing, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, accused those casting aspersions on the vaccination campaign in Nigeria as “carriers of misinformation and disinformation.”
He said; “On September 25th, 2021, the British High Commission, Abuja released a press statement which clearly states that the vaccines administered in Nigeria are recognised and approved by their regulatory body. They also clarified that come October 4th, 2021, they would be simplifying their classification process to ‘red list’ and ‘rest of the World’.
“Nigeria would be moving from ‘Amber’ to the ‘rest of the World’ list. This indicates that the on-going vaccination exercise in Nigeria, is widely recognised. Please let us not let carriers of misinformation and disinformation prevent us from taking the decision to protect ourselves, our family and our loved ones. For those of us who have been vaccinated, it is our responsibility to ensure that our loved ones, friends and community are also protected from this virus by encouraging them to get vaccinated.”
On vaccination cards racketeering, the executive director said the government was aware of the shady deals and that it is working hard to investigate all the allegations and punish the offenders.
“…buying and selling of COVID-19 vaccines and cards is a criminal offence in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria has provided these vaccines free of charge to all eligible persons. The officer in charge of every designated health facility would be held accountable for every vaccination card and QR code. These must match the quantities of vaccines and devices provided,” Mr Shuaib said.
He added that supervisors and a newly established joint task force (JTF) would begin to move round to examine the records on health facilities to ensure consistency in inventories. “States will be supported to strengthen their monitoring mechanism as well.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...