The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has mounted a manhunt for 90 travellers, Nigerians and foreigners, whom it described as dangers to public health.
In a statement by the Chairman of the PSC and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, the Committee said the 90 persons, who are currently at large, had violated the guidelines issued for travellers entering Nigeria from India, Turkey and Brazil.
The Federal Government, after identifying the danger posed to global health by new variants of COVID-19, which were predominantly found in the three countries, had introduced a travel advisory, mandating travellers from any of the countries, or who had visited any of the 14 days prior to arrival in Nigeria, to undergo a compulsory arrival quarantine and testing protocols.
However, according to the statement, the 90 offenders, whose names and passport details were also made available in the schedule released by the PSC on Sunday night, sneaked into the country without respecting the advisory.
The Committee accused them of endangering public health regulations, which attract spelt out punishments.
“The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 on 1STMay, 2021 issued a Travel Advisory for Passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey.
“These precautionary measures are a necessary step 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 that have visited any of these three countries within fourteen (14) 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 (COVID-19) HEALTH REGULATIONS PROTECTION, 2021.
“Accordingly, the underlisted persons who arrived in Nigeria between 8th May 2021 and 15th May 2021 through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and whose names and passport numbers are displayed, 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; Cancellation 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 statement reads.