Revealed: Air passengers entering Nigeria spent over N40bn on COVID-19 test in 9 months

Revealed: Air passengers entering Nigeria spent over N40bn on COVID-19 test in 9 months

Passengers arriving at the Lagos, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), along with Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, spent N40.212 billion on COVID-19 test.

The payments covers September 2020 to June 2021.

As part of COVID-19 rules, they are compulsorily collected on arrival from passengers to test for the virus, which they are expected to do after seven days of quarantine.

In September, the federal government announced the resumption of international flights resumed at the Lagos and Abuja airports. It followed the suspension of commercial flight operations in March 2020.

Citing industry data, Thisday said 575,175 passengers arrived in Nigeria, through the Lagos airport, while 286, 324 arrived through the Abuja airport during the period under review.

It added the number of passengers on arrival during the period with the cost of COVID-19 test per head. The amount of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test ranges from N36,000 to N50,400 from private facilities, according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Recall that in 2020, it was revealed that COVID test racketeers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. It also exposed how health and aviation officials endanger public health and rubbish the reputation of respected labs across the country.

In a similar development, passengers said they did not receive update, SMS or call from authorities after paying for the COVID-19 test.

“A passenger who recently arrived from Brazil said that after he paid the fee on arrival, he was neither sent an SMS message nor called upon, until when wanted to travel back to Brazil before he went for the test.”

Bankole Bernard, former president of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), told Thisday that the COVID-19 protocol is quite commendable but queries why passengers would have to pay such a huge amount for the test.

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