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Foreign airlines blame extra tests on fake COVID-19 results


Nigeria to get 80 million doses of vaccines, says Fayemi
Foreign airlines, yesterday, blamed additional test measures currently imposed by some carriers on rampant cases of fake COVID-19 test results in Nigeria.

Although the airlines apologised to customers for the discomfort and additional cost, they said the measure was their leeway to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and avert withdrawal from the Nigerian route.

However, the Federal Government is considering sanctions for Emirates and KLM airlines that currently enforced the mandatory antigen test on Nigerians before boarding.

This was after the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) granted approval for the antigen tests to be done at Lagos and Abuja airports.


Travellers in Nigeria have expressed their displeasure with the additional safety protocol, describing it as a rip-off on ‘the unprotected’ Nigerian consumers.

The Guardian reported yesterday that foreign carriers have begun the enforcement of fresh safety protocols much to the discomfort of Nigerian travellers. National carriers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Netherlands, Emirates and KLM, have begun conducting mandatory antigen tests on Nigerian passengers, in addition to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test approved by the Federal Government and the global standard.

The test costs additional N25, 800 per traveller at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and N36, 800 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

Country Manager of one of the airlines said the antigen test was unavoidable, if they must sustain skeletal operations during the pandemic, saying the PCR tests “appear to have been compromised with a lot of suspicious outcomes.”

Chairman, Airline Passenger Joint Committee (APJC), Bankole Bernard, said Emirates and the other airlines were not at fault for disrespecting Nigerian travellers but for the Federal Government that has refused to live up to its responsibilities.

Bernard said he was aware of the fake test result claims, but insisted that that was government’s exclusive responsibility to rid the system of saboteurs.

MEANWHILE, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has urged the Federal Government to explore the potential of local manufacturing of vaccines, following technology transfer.

He disclosed that about 80 million doses of vaccines would soon be available in the country to immunise 40 per cent of the country’s population this year.


Fayemi said was part of measures being put in place to contain the virus this year, adding that another batch of 60 million doses would arrive in 2022.

Governor Fayemi stated this while delivering a paper on The Role Of Nigeria’s State Governments In Recovery: Responses To COVID-19 Linked Challenges at the Chatham House Africa Programme in the United Kingdom (UK).

He canvassed increased investment in health security and public health emergencies by state governments with recommendation on the need to establish their own centres for disease control in the country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps our biggest lesson around this, as it has affected all spheres of the economy. Nigeria now has a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) that includes a multi-sectorial approach to combating pandemics on this nature,” he added.


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