Nigeria’s federal government has granted the police and the appropriate bodies the powers to prosecute all passengers presenting a forged COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) results after the expiration of the mandatory quarantine period.
Those facing the risk of prosecution are passengers who falsify their status as diplomats.
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 granted this authority in the revised provisional quarantine protocol for travellers arriving in the country.
The amended protocol, which came into effect from September 14, 2021, was signed by the Chairman of PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha.
The PSC also vowed that passengers who provide false and misleading information on the travel portal and on the online health declaration form would be liable to prosecution in accordance with the law of the land, including those who willfully disregard or refuse to comply with directions of Port-Health staff, security agencies or evade quarantine.
The PSC stated the travel documents of the offending travellers would only be returned to them following clearance by Port Health Services. It averred that in the light of the amendment in Section D of the travel protocol that was first released on June 28, 2021, all non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited Brazil, Turkey or South Africa within 14 days preceding their travel to Nigeria would be denied entry into Nigeria.
It, however, stated that the regulation does not apply to passengers who transited through the three countries.
The PSC also said that India has been removed from the list of restricted countries because of the improved situations in the country. It warned that airlines who breach the protocol risked fine of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger while non-Nigerians would be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at a cost to the airline while Nigerians and those with permanent resident permits, who visited Brazil, Turkey and South Africa within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria will be subjected to seven days of mandatory quarantine in a government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at a cost to the passenger.
Under the revised protocol, travellers are to perform a COVID-19 PCR test not more than three days or 72 hours before boarding from a country of exit while the test validity commences from the time of sample collection.