Using COVID-19 PCR tests to discourage air travels

RECENTLY a video which went viral showed a frustrated Nigerian traveler spewing out some unprintable words to the Nigerian government to show his grievance against the hardship confronting air travelers in Nigeria in particular due to the COVID-19  Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test the federal government insisted passengers traveling into and out of the country must undergo to determine their COVID-19 status.

Rather than reduce the tension and sufferings created by the pandemic which has already crippled air transportation, the COVID-19 test has further unleashed deep agony on the traveling public.

This has become obvious with the unpalatable experiences travelers are being subjected to courtesy of the policy of the government through the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 that directed all passengers flying into the country must undergo a COVID-19  PCR test 96 hours before flying into the country.

Ordinarily, this test should not take more than a day or two days for the result to come out to enable the passenger embark on his flight, but this test has now become a source through which medical officials at the designated test centers swindle innocent air travelers.

Many intended passengers have continued to come up with their sad tales they suffer in the hands of the medical officials with many either missing their flights as they wait endlessly for their results while those who can not wait pay double or even triple the amount running to hundreds of thousands of Naira to do the test in an alternate hospital.

The attitudes of officials at the designated medical test centers have caused many Nigerians their jobs in different countries around the world while those traveling for business transactions or medical appointments have been denied the opportunities due to deep corruption at the medical facilities.

So many of the affected passengers have continued to voice out their frustration through all the available means including the social media platforms challenging the federal government and the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 to rescue them from the hands of officials at the designated medical centers but to no avail as the government seems lost on what to do.

It is rather unfortunate that while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) clamoured for a global COVID-19 test, governments around the world are using the dangerous situation to milk air travelers.

Again, it is sad that despite the crippling of air transport by the pandemic which made the experience more disastrous for global aviation due to the lockdown of the entire system, few people who have summoned the courage to travel by air at this critical time are still being discouraged from doing so.

As a result of the controversial COVID-19 tests going on in the country and around the world, many Nigerians in the diaspora who  have serious engagements in the country are scared of coming home to avoid being caught up in the COVID-19 scandal.

The height of the frustration is the failure on the part of the government to rescue the air travelers, with many people suspecting that the government is only interested in turning the PCR test into a money making venture.

The inherent danger in this illegal business venture which has made the COVID-19 test procedure look like rocket science is that those involved would have suddenly become overnight millionaires from the sweat of air travelers, while this injustice been meted to the traveling public will subsequently have its ripple effects on air transport sooner than later. Presently, the business of air travel in Nigeria is on a life support that may be abruptly terminated if the ongoing corrupt attitudes of officials at the designated centers is not nipped in the bud.

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