COVID-19 committee decries extortion of travelers at airports

The committee says there's a need for serious caution and adherence to non-pharmaceutical intervention measures.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha. [Twitter/@DigiCommsNG]

The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja decried the extortion of travellers seeking to evade mandatory quarantine at the airports.

Speaking at the national briefing of the PSC, chairman of the committee, Mr Boss Mustapha said, "The PSC has noted with dismay, fraudulent activities at airports by employees who extort money from quarantine evaders.

"The authorities are conducting necessary investigation into various reports received."

Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, also said the PSC had taken note of challenges raised by travellers who visit the National International Travel Portal in compliance with travel protocols.

He said, "Notable progress is still being made in the area of vaccines.

"More than 3.5 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are being expected from the U.S.A. this September, while about four million doses of Astrazeneca is being expected early next month.

"Nigeria will be receiving more than one million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccine shipment on a monthly basis.

"The PSC is committed to access enough vaccines for the 70 per cent eligible persons in the country in record time."

While warning against complacency, he said, "Global cases have been on a decline for some time now, but there's need for more caution, especially among Nigerians.

"The PSC has observed that caution is needed rather than over-confidence. To slide into complacency can be very fatal, hence the need for serious caution and adherence to non-pharmaceutical intervention measures," he stressed.

On United Kingdom's advisory on COVID-19 vaccines and changes to international travel rules, Mustapha said, "The British High Commissioner in Nigeria has stated that the UK government supports the vaccination programme irrespective of where the vaccines were manufactured.

"Britain will open up international travels using a standardised COVID-19 vaccination certification process to allow for ease of travel from other countries – Nigeria inclusive."

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PSC chairman praised Dr Chike Ihekwaezu, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for his diligence, professionalism and commitment to duty in combating COVID-19.

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