On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the Lagos State Government said it has deactivated the passports of 200 inbound passengers who failed to appear at the mobile court after they presented fake PCR tests results and COVID vaccination cards.
Prof Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health said some inbound passengers presented fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards, while some gave false information in a bid 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 a major impact on the state public health systems and the economy.
Abayomi noted that: “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.”
The Commissioner disclosed that established defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal in nature but has deactivated their passport for a year.
“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.”
Abayomi said the state will continue to ensure heightened public surveillance for COVID and ensure access to free PCR testing at all its public health facilities despite the reduction in the fourth wave of COVID.
Citizens, particularly inbound passengers who are required by law to undergo the test on arrival in Lagos, are urged to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying for and presenting themselves at any accredited laboratory consortium on any approved day in Lagos for their PCR tests.
In the meantime, he said that further evaluations would be conducted in the future, especially as the ongoing COVID vaccination campaign gains momentum.
Abayomi, however, insisted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centres in the state remain free for citizens who have COVID like symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.