Following concerns raised by travellers over exorbitant fees paid for COVID-19 tests at Nigeria airports, alleged extortion and other unwholesome practices, the federal government says it has begun review of the travel advisory and public health safety measures.
According to a statement by the Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) on Monday, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 is expected announce an updated travel advisory soon.
The Nigerian government mandates passengers who present negative PCR test results before boarding aircraft travelling to Nigeria, to also pay for COVID-19 PCR repeat tests that would be carried out on them when they arrive in the country.
Travellers are required to make use of the travel portal, pay for the repeat test in any private lab of their choice and proceed to do the test.
GLOBAL SENTINEL had reported how many passengers, particularly Nigerians, who arrive the country since the resumption of international flights are recounting tales of alleged outright extortion and fraud perpetrated by government officials who supervise the enforcement of the COVID-19 guidelines at the Lagos and Abuja international airports.
But, the statement by the NCDC read, “While the NITP site is hosted on NCDC’s domain, all funds for testing purposes are paid through the bank to the accredited private laboratories. NO FUNDS from private testing are received by NCDC. COVID-19 testing in government laboratories remains free of charge for public health purposes. Testing for personal purposes such as travel are paid for by individuals to be conducted in private laboratories.
“The NITP was developed by the private sector and is managed by Nigerians in the public sector as one of several measures introduced to limit the risk of importation and spread of COVID-19 in our country. Despite challenges in the functionalities of the site, mostly related to payments using foreign cards, we have continued to work extremely hard on its improvement.”
The statement added, “The current travel advisory and public health safety measures are under review by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and will be updated shortly.
“In the meantime, the NCDC continues to deliver on its mandate, including strong response to COVID-19 and other concurrent disease outbreaks in Nigeria.”