Boss Mustapha, Chairman, PTF, Addressing The Media
Nigeria’s federal government has threatened that she will now begin to strictly enforce her long stipulated sanctions against international travellers into the country who subvert the directives on COVID-19 test, by applying the sanction which stipulated seizure of culprits’ passports for a minimum of six months, among others.
Chairman, Presidential Task Force, PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, reiterated the government’s resolve that she will henceforth begin to act on the sanctions since stipulated before the nation’s sky was opened for international flights on 5th September 2020.
Speaking at the PTF’s first media briefing for this month of November 2020, Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, gave the rationale for the now seemingly tough stance thus, “Having observed serious non-compliance to the level of 65%, the need has arisen to activate the sanctions which include the suspension of the passports of such defaulting individuals for a period of six months minimum,” he said.
Mustapha said the PTF was reasoning that if the countries of U.K, France, USA and others are currently bugged with the second lockdown occasioned by the spike of COVID-19 pandemic, and much of international travellers to the country were from those nations and two-thirds, (2/3) of international visitors often successfully skipped the PCR test on arrival, it is reasonable that precautionary measures begin without any further delay.
He further gave the premises for government’s new resolve to now live up to her responsibilities which her personnel and the quality of ICT deployed for the purpose of payment and conducting laboratory- PCR- test to say the least, have been very shameful, shoddy and disgusting.
Mustapha explained thus, “The PTF has noted with sadness the failure of Nigerians who arrived from abroad to present themselves for the in-country PCR test which they signed up to and paid before arrival. Statistics emerging from our records show that only one out of three passengers have shown up for the in-country test”, he declared
He also cited the frightening global statistics as another reason for the government to buckle up this time around. “The reasons for concern include the fact that as of Monday, 2/11/2020, global statistics showed the following; Global cumulative cases – 47,387,837; Global number of deaths – 1,212,479; the UK and France have continued to struggle with record increases in numbers and have reintroduced total lockdown to control the spread,” he said
The Chairman added that PTF had noted a growing majority of Nigerians had become complacent as the risk perception remains very low, sample collection on the decline and the reduction in the low number of infections published daily, were all signals to a possibility of a spike which could provoke the shutting down of the economy and which the national economy can ill afford at this point in time of Nigeria’s history as a nation.
However, the complacency manifested so much from the attitude of government personnel expected to play a role in conducting the test for international passengers. Complacency also reflected in an awful digital platform for payment that government herself presented to the world- for international travellers to the country.
Also the total break down of the online platform that payment was expected to be made and which thousands did pay before leaving for Nigeria. While on arrival no clue as to any means of rectification of the payment platform, no government official proffered solution in aid of both indigenes and aliens who arrived the country during this period and were genuinely ready for the PCR test. Numerous travellers who had paid before leaving for Nigeria arrived Lagos and Abuja but their payments could not be authenticated.
It is hoped that the government will provide the enabling environment to make the payment on the online platform easier as it is in other climes, or better still, to out-rightly expunged payment from the process.
Furthermore, the management/owners of various laboratories need be tutored on how to be courteous, diligent and patriotic without undermining their professional ethics, then international travellers would surely take a cue and will duly comply
Also, the PTF does not announce what sanction awaits government official who willfully frustrates the travellers from conducting the test but would help procure positive result at a fee from any of the accredited laboratories and deliver to the passenger without appearing at any lab.
In other climes, the buy-in of the airline is imperative. Any airline in which any of its passengers tested positive will be sanctioned.
In China, such airline would have its frequency reduced or handed suspension ranging from one week to three months. Period of time deemed would be enough to put its acts together to ensure every passenger on board comply with COVID-19 protocols that exist in China for international visitors, and indigenes.Share