COVID-19 scam: Travellers lament frustration at airports


The entire process is looking like a scam designed to extort Nigerians


It is frustration galore for many Nigerians arriving the country from overseas as they complain about the cumbersome and difficult procedures they have had to face for the COVID-19 test on arrival. Some of the passengers have alleged cases of duplicated charges for the COVID- 19 tests yet they end up not being tested as the designated labs cannot be found.


Even when found, some of the labs are beyond reach. In one video seen by New Telegraph, the passenger claims the lab was only located in Abuja despite being told that it was nationwide.


Others have lamented about being forced to run multiple tests, at the threat of being barred from leaving the country for failure to take these tests.


Passengers have also alleged that the entire process is looking like an elaborate scam designed to extort Nigerians and frustrate travelers who are eager to reconnect with their families. Just last month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced rules about COVID-19 PCR testing before entering the country.


The NCDC also said that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had noti fied airlines that passengers to Nigeria, who couldn’t pay for the test online could still board flights, as long as they had COVID-19 PCR negative test results. National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, announced last month that “to enable early detection and reduce the risk of further transmission based on data and our current laboratory capacity, all incoming travelers must be tested by a certified private laboratory after seven days of returning to the country.”


In a video, which was shot by a visibly irritated journalist a few moments after arriving the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the journalist protested that despite doing a free test in London, he was still forced to pay N48,000.00  . and was given a piece of paper, and told to go to a clinic that could only be found in Abuja after he was told that the clinic had branches nationwide.


He said: “I want to change what is happening; people cannot go 16 hours on a flight and arrive to fill forms, are we goats?” Another video of a frustrated passenger seen on a radio show decried the poor


delivery  services at the clinics and the multiple orders to pay the sum of N42,750.00 or else he would be barred from leaving the country back to Sweden. The passenger flew in from Sweden only to be frustrated as he seek to return.


A Lebanese national, filling forms alongside the protesting Nigerian, said that he had passed through different airports before arriving in Abuja, but only at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport was he told to stand in long queues and fill forms.


He stated that the NCDC portal was not working, and he registered his displeasure saying, “I arrived Nigeria and there was a long queue of people waiting to pay money for COVID-19 tests. Is the one I did in London not enough? Are Nigerian hospitals better than London hospitals…


I had to pay N48 thousand and I was given a [piece of] paper and told to go to an Ahab Clinic. I was told the clinic has branches, but they only have a branch in Abuja. “What it means is that I have to leave my hometown to Abuja and go back to Lagos for my flight.


The government is sitting down waiting for passengers in order to extort them.




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