By Omeiza Ajayi – Abuja
The Federal Government has announced sanctions for 27 foreigners and 62 Nigerians who recently returned from countries with high incidence of COVID-19 and who evaded safety protocols put in place for returnees from those countries.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in a statement issued late Sunday in Abuja.
The PSC had on May 1 issued a “Travel Advisory” for passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey, explaining that such precautionary measures were necessary steps to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and break the chain of transmission to the population.
Under the new measures, passengers arriving from/or who have visited any of the three countries within fourteen days prior to the visit to Nigeria, are required to follow mandatory arrival quarantine and testing protocols in designated facilities.
“The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has however observed that while most of the arriving passengers dutifully observed the guidelines, some (Nigerians and Foreigners) have violated them in contravention of the provisions of the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations 2021”, the committee stated.
While 26 of the foreigners are Indian nationals, one is a Dane.
All the affected persons arrived in Nigeria between 8th May 2021 and 15th May 2021 through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The PSC said they “have been declared Persons of Interest (POI) on account of posing considerable danger to overall public health and for the violation of Nigeria COVID-19 travel protocol by evading the mandatory 7-day quarantine for persons arriving from restricted countries.
“Members of the public are by this notice advised that these persons of interest constitute an immediate health hazard to the society.
”They must therefore transport themselves safely, to the nearest state public health departments within 48hrs of this notice for immediate evaluation and call the Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health on 08036134672 or 08032461990 for further directions.
“The PSC shall in addition, take further steps to sanction these violators. These steps include:
“Disabling their travel passports for a period not less than one year; Cancelation of visas/ permits of foreigners that have abused our hospitality; and Prosecution under the 2021 Health Protection Regulations.
”Additional list of Batch II defaulters shall be published in subsequent announcement by the PSC “, the committee added.