The Federal Government on Saturday slammed a six-month travel ban on 100 passengers who failed to undergo the compulsory COVID-19 test after their return to the country.
The affected persons will not be allowed to leave Nigeria earlier than June 30, 2021, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 announced yesterday.
“The PTF has placed travel restrictions on the first 100 passengers for non-compliance to the mandatory Day 7 post-arrival COVID-19 test,” the PTF tweeted.
The restriction took effect from January 1, 2021 and will end at the end of June.
The names of the defaulters were not mentioned but a list containing their passport numbers was attached to the tweet.
It said all the people had been personally contacted.
In a separate statement, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said: “Based on presidential authority, travel restrictions are being placed on the following passports due to non-compliance to the mandatory Day 7 post-arrival COVID-19 PCR tests.
“Defaulting passengers have been notified and will be prevented from travelling out of the country during this period.”
A top source in PTF told The Nation that the list of the affected Nigerians had “been sent to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other security agencies to stop them from travelling out.
“Any further defiance may lead to the cancellation of their passports. We are no longer going to tolerate any laxity on the part of any Nigerian, no matter how highly-placed,” the source said.
On his part, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a tweet, said: “We understand Nigerians’ urge to relax on compliance measures for #COVID19 prevention after a difficult year. The challenge is: this virus doesn’t recognise human necessities to celebrate.
“Therefore we’ve sustained the response and must collectively take responsibility.”
“Thank you Nigerians and our partners for the support, as we led the public health response to the #COVID19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks in 2020.
“As the pandemic continues, please take responsibility. We remain committed to our mandate in protecting the health of Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, investigation confirmed last night that President Muhammadu Buhari may determine the fate of states with lukewarm attitude to COVID-19 management.