Fake COVID-19 Certificate: Culprits should be prosecuted – Speaker

Fake COVID-19 Certificate: Culprits should be prosecuted – Speaker

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila has called for the arrest and prosecution of owners and staff of private laboratories involved in the issuance of fake COVID-19 certificates across the country.

Mr Gbajabiamila issued the directive during an interactive session with heads of various Agencies and Parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Aviation on the ordeals of travellers at the nation’s Airports.

The Speaker underscored the need for the enactment of a law for the establishment of a government agency such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that would regulate the activities of operators within the airports in Nigeria.

While expressing grave concerns over the presence and activities of touts and other miscreants at the airports who engaged in extortion of unsuspecting travellers and other unethical practices, the lawmakers called for deliberate actions toward ending the menace.

He said “It’s not going to be one of those sessions where there will be no outcomes, I think one of the outcomes will be a law that specifically sets up an agency of government to oversee the operations of the airports like the TSA like I said.

“I think the TSA appears to be the silver bullet that cures most of the things we heard here and the chairmen of the relevant committees in the House led by the Aviation Committee, hopefully, will begin to put this together, hopefully, within the next two weeks we will have a draft of the bill.

In his presentation, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr.

Ifedayo Adetifa disclosed that some individuals who presented fake COVID-19 certificates were arrested and handed over to the Department of State Security, DSS, for prosecution.

On the reliability of the test carried out by the private laboratories, he argued that some of the private laboratories might not be involved in the fake COVID-19 certificates, but by some corrupt individuals who allegedly connived with some officials at the airports.

On his part, the Director of Port Health, Dr.

Godfrey Oratubo who affirmed that the agency has so far laid off 20 private staff and 3 permanent staff in Lagos as well as 9 private staff in Abuja, added that 90 percent of the staff involved in the scandal are private staff.

While stressing the need for more personnel, Dr.

Oratubo disclosed that the Ministry of Health has initiated a process to get a waiver for the recruitment of permanent staff with a view to strengthening its operations.

While responding to question raised by the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Mr.

Nnolim Nnaji on the allegation bothering on corrupt practices being perpetrated by personnel of various regulatory agencies at the airports, FAAN Managing Director, Rabiu Yadudu disclosed that regular meetings are held with the management team weekly and daily during the emergency period to improve on service delivery.

Earlier in his address, speaker Gbajabiamila argued that the problem with Nigeria was that there are no consequences for those perpetuating illegalities, stressing the need for prosecution of indicted persons which would serve as a deterrent to others.

Fake COVID-19 Certificate: Culprits should be prosecuted – Speaker

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