By Lawani Mikairu
Agencies responsible for the screening of passengers arriving at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos have intensified screening of passengers.
Passengers from countries where the new strain of covid-19, Omicron, have been detected, are given “special attention” at the screening points of the arrival hall of the airport
A visit by Vanguard to the MMIA arrival terminal revealed that passengers from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Zambia, all Southern African countries who share common boundaries are given ” special screening” before they are allowed into the country.
Other countries who have been banned by the United States of America, USA, from operating flights into USA have also be included on the list of countries whose passengers are to be given” special screening ” according to Nigeria Immigration Service source at the Lagos airport.
All passengers are expected to show evidence of covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR negative test result obtained less than 72 hours before boarding of arrival flights.
In addition to the negative test result, arriving passengers are also expected to fill a bio-data form and indicate where the next PCR test will be conducted after the mandatory 7 days self isolation period. Passengers are expected to show evidence of payment for the next mandatory test.
An immigration official who spoke to Vanguard on condition of annonimity said there has been instructions ” from above ” that particular attention should be paid to passengers from countries were the current new strain of covid-19 virus has been detected.
He said : ” We have been instructed to be more thorough in the screening of passengers from some southern Africa countries who share common boundaries with South Africa where the new strain, Omicron, has been detected”
” You know currently we don’t have the new strain in Nigeria yet. Don’t mind what the Canadian government said recently. We will ensure that new strain does not enter the country. We implore passengers to show more understanding and cooperate with our officials. They may experience some level of delays at the screening points,” he added.
Recall that on Monday, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said all agencies, including Port Health officials, responsible for health checks at the airport have been put on high alert.
Speaking on the measures put in place to prevent the importation of the new strain into the country, the General Manager Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Herrietta Yakubu told Vanguard that : “
There will be an enforcement of all the Protocols and procedures put in place for the covid-19 already on ground.”
“All the Agencies concerned and Port Health, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA,FAAN etc have been all put on notice to ensure no passenger comes into the Country with this variant.”