Lagos State Government Wednesday said it has deactivated the passports of 200 inbound passengers who refused to appear before the mobile court after presenting fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards.
Commissioner for Prof Akin Abayomi said some inbound passengers presented fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards and fill in false travel information in an attempt to bypass the national COVID guidelines.
“Returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information,” Abayomi said.
“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had major impact on the state public health systems and the economy.
“Whilst we understand that it may not have been the fault of passengers but facilitated by unscrupulous individuals assisting them, we have taken a decision not to submit their passports for deactivation by the Presidential Steering Committee, in the first instance, but give them an opportunity to present themselves at our mobile court to defend themselves and help identify where they are obtaining the fake documents if applicable,” Abayomi said.
He disclosed that confirmed defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal in nature.
“In the meantime, we have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year. These will be published in the dailies in the coming week and the next set of names will follow in the coming month. We encourage all those who have received a text message to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions,” the commissioner stated.
He said that while the fourth wave of COVID has tapered, it will continue to ensure heightened public surveillance for COVID and ensure access to free PCR testing at all its public health facilities.
The commissioner called on citizens, particularly inbound passengers who are required by law to test on arrival, to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying and presenting themselves at any of the accredited laboratories’ consortium at approved days for their PCR tests on arrival in Lagos. He added that further reviews will be made in due course, especially as the ongoing COVID vaccination campaign gains momentum.
Abayomi, however, noted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centres around the state remain absolutely free for citizens who need to test for COVID; either because they have COVID like symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.