Why FG needs to clamp down on fake COVID-19 test centres

BASED on records, the dreaded killer COVID-19 pandemic seems not ready to stop the havoc it continues to unleash on both humans and economies of the world with the number of the victims increasing daily.

To worsen the situation, the health authorities around the world have announced new variants of the pandemic which are described as even more deadly than the first specie of the virus.

As the affliction continues unabated, governments of countries around the world have continued to embrace new strategies that will prevent the pandemic from getting worse.

Among such strategies are the various negative COVID-19 tests specified depending on the country of destination. The different tests as specified by the different countries emphasize proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from the pandemic which costs between N50,000 and N100,000 again depending on the negotiation.

Without doubt these additional costs is making travels more expensive to travelers not only in Nigeria but around the world.

Even when the passengers have no choice than to subject themselves to the various tests, the painful fact is that after paying such a huge extra cost you are not even sure you are getting an authentic COVID-19 test certificate.

It is no longer news that there are different cartels capitalizing on the desperation of passengers around the world to travel to different destinations at this critical period to make blood money by issuing fake tests.

The cartels including the ones in Nigeria now take joy in making money out of the desperate and innocent travelers to issue them fake COVID-19 tests after ripping them off.

Such innocent passengers have run into problems at the point of embarkation where to their greatest surprise they were told they possess fake negative results.

While those who fell to the game of the fraudsters are subjected to international torture, some even lost their lives to the pandemic having been issued a fake negative result.

Besides sending many people to their untimely graves, the height of the wickedness on the part of the fake COVID-19 cartels is that their actions are responsible for  the increase in the spread of the pandemic.

Many countries around the world have continued to raise the alarm over how the inhuman activities of the fake COVID-19 cartels have continued to help in the spread of the pandemic.

This height of wickedness has been confirmed in Nigeria with the sealing off of a private clinic in Abuja after a sting operation carried out which discovered that the clinic had been conducting illegal COVID-19 testing and also issuing fake certificates to innocent travelers.

The activities of the cartels have even caught the attention of international bodies with some foreign countries beaming searchlight on Nigerian travelers while others are introducing tougher policy towards Nigerians traveling.

This surely is not the best of times for travelers including Nigerians in view of the risk involved in COVID-19 free passengers being lumped together with COVID-19 positive passengers possessing fake results.

While the ability of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) COVID-19 Enforcement Taskforce to burst the fake clinic is commendable, more needs to be done in earnest to embark on rigorous search of this fake COVID-19 syndicate for tough sanctions.

Presently, Nigeria is among the countries parading this fake COVID-19 cartel and this has started attracting international hostilities towards Nigerian passengers.

Besides the hostile reactions from other countries, government relevant bodies need to go after this act of criminality before the country becomes one of the epicenters of the pandemic just because of few people who are desperate to use the opportunity to get rich overnight.

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