Checking the mess called Nigeria’s COVID-19 test portals

2 months ago 48

Controversy has continued to trail how some Nigerian  passengers including some lawmakers from Delta State became stranded in London following their inability to pay the mandatory 76 pounds for the COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Different countries across the world including Nigeria collect different charges from passengers in their countries as fee to take care of the COVID test.

Prior to now, Nigerians had expressed their frustrations with the additional stress they were usually confronted with while attempting to make payments for the COVID PCR test as the portals being paraded by the various centers dedicated to this had been ineffective.

Based on the frustration created by the inefficiency of the COVID-19 payment portals, Nigerian traveling public out of desperation to obtain this test had ended up being defrauded by exploiters.

This was the position until the Presidential Task Force Committee on COVID-19 in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last week announced that all foreign airlines operating in and out of Nigeria had been directed not to deny Nigerians boarding over their inability to show evidence of payment for the COVID-19 PCR test or to generate a paid QR code.

According to the Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, the directive became necessary in view of the cumbersomeness of generating the PCR code after payment of the statutory fees which he said had led to many travelers from Nigeria and into Nigeria being denied boarding by foreign airlines. The news came as a great relief to many Nigerian travelers.

Though the NCAA as the country’s aviation regulatory body has carried its own part by issuing the letter backing this to the foreign carriers in Nigeria, but with the incident that played out in London Heathrow early in the week, all the components needed to make the directive achieve its goal might have lacked the required global acceptance for obvious reasons.

With what played out in London early in the week, Nigeria’s government must be ready to witness more of such denials from other countries not because the countries want to do so for the fun of it, but in their resolve to prevent any uncertainty that may have backlash on their systems.

The incident that reared its head at the London Heathrow was a fallout of one of the lapses created by some bad eggs who having found their ways to some critical positions, capitalize on that to exploit the public and thereby rubbishing the image of the entire country.

Since the London incident got to the public domain, some people have not wasted time in blaming the issue on the British Airways and the British government, forgetting that the system that operates there is not the same with Nigeria’s.

In view of the COVID-19 policy of the British government, each passenger boarding any aircraft including those of British Airways is expected to pay for the PCR test without which he/she cannot be boarded. Any airline that fails to ensure the compliance of this safety is fined $3,000 per passenger that defaults in the payment.

Therefore, no one should blame the BA for denying the Nigerian passengers for some reasons which the Nigerian government must now unravel to prevent other foreign countries from applying the same actions against Nigerian travelers in their domains.

There is the need to find out if the directive issued out by the NCAA actually got to the appropriate relevant authorities in the foreign airlines and if the home countries of the foreign carriers accepted the arrangement.

Besides, rather than blame the British government, Nigeria’s government should use the opportunity to once again check its systems with particular attention focussed on activities playing out at the various designated COVID-19 testing centers.

Reports coming out of the centers have pointed to that of deep rooted corruption and wickedness on the parts of the officials who are using the ineffective payment portals at the centers to defraud many innocent travelers.

The regular sad tales from travelers is either after payment for the PCR test, the portals will not acknowledge payments or in most cases, the portals are down.

Under this pathetic condition, nothing has been done and because people must travel, shouldn’t the relevant authorities give officials at the centers the marching order to either make things work or get them replaced with better managers and professionals.

Rather than the Delta State lawmakers creating scene in London over an issue that emanated from Nigeria and not Britain, they should have urged the affected passengers to comply with the rules of the country, come back home and add their voices to those of key players in the sector calling on government to beam its searchlight on the activities of those using these COVID-19 test centers to defraud and further make air travels more frustrating.

Controversy has continued to trail how some Nigerian  passengers including some lawmakers from Delta State became stranded in London following their inability to pay the mandatory 76 pounds for the COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

Different countries across the world including Nigeria collect different charges from passengers in their countries as fee to take care of the COVID test.

Prior to now, Nigerians had expressed their frustrations with the additional stress they were usually confronted with while attempting to make payments for the COVID PCR test as the portals being paraded by the various centers dedicated to this had been ineffective.

Based on the frustration created by the inefficiency of the COVID-19 payment portals, Nigerian traveling public out of desperation to obtain this test had ended up being defrauded by exploiters.

This was the position until the Presidential Task Force Committee on COVID-19 in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) last week announced that all foreign airlines operating in and out of Nigeria had been directed not to deny Nigerians boarding over their inability to show evidence of payment for the COVID-19 PCR test or to generate a paid QR code.

According to the Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, the directive became necessary in view of the cumbersomeness of generating the PCR code after payment of the statutory fees which he said had led to many travelers from Nigeria and into Nigeria being denied boarding by foreign airlines. The news came as a great relief to many Nigerian travelers.

Though the NCAA as the country’s aviation regulatory body has carried its own part by issuing the letter backing this to the foreign carriers in Nigeria, but with the incident that played out in London Heathrow early in the week, all the components needed to make the directive achieve its goal might have lacked the required global acceptance for obvious reasons.

With what played out in London early in the week, Nigeria’s government must be ready to witness more of such denials from other countries not because the countries want to do so for the fun of it, but in their resolve to prevent any uncertainty that may have backlash on their systems.

The incident that reared its head at the London Heathrow was a fallout of one of the lapses created by some bad eggs who having found their ways to some critical positions, capitalize on that to exploit the public and thereby rubbishing the image of the entire country.

Since the London incident got to the public domain, some people have not wasted time in blaming the issue on the British Airways and the British government, forgetting that the system that operates there is not the same with Nigeria’s.

In view of the COVID-19 policy of the British government, each passenger boarding any aircraft including those of British Airways is expected to pay for the PCR test without which he/she cannot be boarded. Any airline that fails to ensure the compliance of this safety is fined $3,000 per passenger that defaults in the payment.

Therefore, no one should blame the BA for denying the Nigerian passengers for some reasons which the Nigerian government must now unravel to prevent other foreign countries from applying the same actions against Nigerian travelers in their domains.

There is the need to find out if the directive issued out by the NCAA actually got to the appropriate relevant authorities in the foreign airlines and if the home countries of the foreign carriers accepted the arrangement.

Besides, rather than blame the British government, Nigeria’s government should use the opportunity to once again check its systems with particular attention focussed on activities playing out at the various designated COVID-19 testing centers.

Reports coming out of the centers have pointed to that of deep rooted corruption and wickedness on the parts of the officials who are using the ineffective payment portals at the centers to defraud many innocent travelers.

The regular sad tales from travelers is either after payment for the PCR test, the portals will not acknowledge payments or in most cases, the portals are down.

Under this pathetic condition, nothing has been done and because people must travel, shouldn’t the relevant authorities give officials at the centers the marching order to either make things work or get them replaced with better managers and professionals.

Rather than the Delta State lawmakers creating scene in London over an issue that emanated from Nigeria and not Britain, they should have urged the affected passengers to comply with the rules of the country, come back home and add their voices to those of key players in the sector calling on government to beam its searchlight on the activities of those using these COVID-19 test centers to defraud and further make air travels more frustrating.

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

We Have Not Had Water Supply In Months ― Abeokuta Residents

In spite of the huge investment in the water sector by the government and international organisations, water scarcity has grown to become a perennial nightmare for residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. This report x-rays the lives and experiences of residents in getting clean, potable and affordable water amidst the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Read Entire Article