Nigeria

‘Fake COVID-19 test’: Senate investigates attempts to defraud Nigerian travellers in Ghana

The requests contained in three separate letters read at the beginning of plenary on Tuesday by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. 5

The Senate has resolved to investigate allegations of fake COVID-19 test results to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians in Ghana and the use of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards in Nigeria.

The decision to investigate the allegation against the Ghanaian authorities taken at Tuesday plenary of the Red Chamber was sequel to the adoption of a motion, following numerous allegations and complaints made by Nigerian travellers isolated at Ghanaian isolation facilities.

The motion titled, “Urgent need to conduct an investigation on allegation of fake COVID-19 test results being used to defraud Nigerians in Ghana and the obtainment of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards”, was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe, who recalled that the COVID-19 infection was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2020.

According to him, while the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to accelerate, only around one per cent of the world’s population have received their full course of injections.

He noted that there is a serious allegation that the Ghanaian authorities are diagnosing Nigerians who travel to their country of testing positive for Covid-19 even after testing negative in Nigeria.

He further observed that the Ghanaian authorities, usually commit Nigerians who visit their country to isolation for two weeks and are made to pay about N70,000 per day.

“Also observed that this allegation was exposed by a Nigerian artiste, who was told in Ghana that he had Covid-19 even after testing negative at a Nigerian facility in Nigeria. He rejected the result and insisted that it was a fake result. He was deported and kicked out of Ghana by the authorities and proceeded to New York in the United States, where his test result on arrival came out negative.

“Worried that Nigerians travelling to Ghana or through Ghana lamented that they are made to pay almost N1 million while in isolation.

“Further worried that most of the Nigerians travelling to Ghana or through Ghana have alleged that the Ghanaian authorities have made them targets for the purpose of making money.

“Concerned that if this allegation is not properly investigated and addressed, the exploitation will continue, thereby unlawfully taking away the resources of Nigerians in this global economic recession; and

“Worried that if the allegation of people obtaining and using fake Covid-19 vaccination cards to travel is not debunked, it may have a negative consequence for Nigerians with genuine Covid-19 vaccination cards from travelling outside the country.”

According to him, “Billions are still waiting for their first dose, which inevitably leads those people to question exactly when they will get it, especially as plans are being made internationally to allow those that have been vaccinated, or can prove they have had a recent negative test, the freedom to travel to other countries, attend large-scale events, take a new job, and more;

“Noted also that there’s a strong and growing demand for vaccinations and test results because of the greater freedoms they will give to people. Also, there will always be people who don’t want to wait for their official vaccination, or for an official negative test result – and shady people willing to service that demand.”

The senator also prevailed on the upper chamber to investigate another allegation on the United Kingdom’s refusal to acknowledge the vaccination cards and test results issued to travellers by facilities in Nigeria.

Accordingly, the Red Chamber, in its resolution, directed its Committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary), Primary Health and Communicable Diseases and Foreign Affairs headed by Senators Yahaya Oloriegbe, Chukwuka Utazi and Adamu Bulkachuwa respectively to conduct detailed investigations into the allegations.

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