Saturday, May 21, 2022

Senate seeks end to maltreatment of Nigerians in Ghana

The Senate has made recommendation after investigating claims of fake COVID-19 tests on Nigerians in Ghana.

• April 6, 2022
Nigerian Senate
Nigerian Senate floor used to illustrate the story (Credit: Twitter)

he Senate has urged the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to liaise with the Ghanaian government to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries to prevent the maltreatment of Nigerians entering Ghana.

This is contained in the recommendations of the Senate after it considered a report by the Joint Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary); Primary Health and Communicable Diseases; and Foreign Affairs at plenary on Wednesday.

The report was based on a “Motion for the Urgent Need to Conduct Investigation on the Allegation of Fake COVID-19 Test Results Being Used to Defraud Nigerians in Ghana, and the Obtainment of Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Cards.”

Chairman of the joint committee, Yahaya Oloriegbe, presented the report to the upper chamber.

In his presentation, he recalled that the investigation was necessitated by allegations that the Ghanaian authorities diagnosed Nigerians who travelled to their country with testing positive for COVID-19 even after testing negative in Nigeria.

He said it was alleged further that Nigerian travellers to the country were committed to isolation for two weeks at N70,000 equivalent daily, an amount running into millions of naira.

Mr Oloriegbe said investigations revealed that Nigerians were possibly exploited at the Ghana International Airport, going by explanations by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19.

He said Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, told the investigative panel earlier that Ghana conducted Rapid-Ag testing on arrival at the airport.

This, he said, had less sensitivity and specificity compared to the PCR test done in Nigeria.

On the allegations of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards and test results, he said that the SGF had stated that for the purpose of international (outbound) travels, COVID-19 PCR tests were conducted by accredited laboratories.

The committee chairman disclosed that the NCDC verification portal, which hosts all validated PCR tests for outbound passengers, would be made visible to airlines so that airline staff can do the certification.

Mr Oloriegbe further said that the PSC utilised the services of security operatives to deal with passengers who blatantly refused to comply with travel protocols for both in-bound and out-bound passengers.

Therefore, in its resolutions, the Senate urged the Federal Ministry of Health and the PSC to develop an exit protocol for all outbound passengers.

According to the Senate, this will enable the authentication of the vaccination cards and also ensure that for PCR tests certificates are conducted at the airport.

Through its Port Health Services Department, it also called on the Health Ministry to link PCR results platforms with the airline platforms to ensure effective coordination and detection of any fake PCR test result.

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