Airline passengers allege COVID-19 test scams at airport


Nigerian passengers flying into the country are complaining bitterly about the series of obstacles they have had to face while undertaking the government enforced coronavirus tests on arrival from other countries.

Others have lamented about being forced to run multiple tests, at the threat of being barred from leaving the country for failure to take these tests. Passengers have also alleged that the entire process is looking like an elaborate scam designed to extort Nigerians and frustrate travelers who are eager to reconnect with their families.

Recall that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had announced rules about COVID-19 PCR testing before entering the country. The NCDC also said that the NCAA had notified airlines that passengers to Nigeria who couldn’t pay for the test online could still board flights, as long as they had COVID-19 PCR negative test results.

A Syrian national, filling forms alongside the protesting Nigerian, said that he had passed through 3 different airports before arriving in Abuja, but only at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport was he told to stand in long queues and fill forms.

“I arrived in Nigeria and there was a long queue of people waiting to pay money for COVID-19 tests. Is the one I did in London not enough? Are Nigerian hospitals better than London hospitals? I had to pay N48 thousand and I was given a [piece of] paper and told to go to an Ahab Clinic. I was told the clinic has branches, but they only have a branch in Abuja.

Another video of a frustrated passenger seen on the Brekete Family Radio Show decried the poor delivery services at the clinics and the multiple orders to pay the sum of N42, 750.00 or else he would be barred from leaving the country back to Sweden. The passenger flew in from Sweden only to be frustrated as he seek to return.

He said he was given the option of paying online or paying when he arrived at the airport. On arrival, he was debited the sum of N42, 750 through a POS transaction, and given a lab to collate his result. However, the addresses of the labs couldn’t even be found on Google Maps.

He disclosed that he later found the lab after asking for directions. While at the lab, he was told that his results were sent to a centre in Lagos to be processed, but the next day, the lab told him and other passengers on the same flight that their names were not on the systems and that they had to pay another N42, 750 for another test result.

Despite the NCDC’s orders that passengers flying into Nigeria can conduct COVID-19 tests at least 96 hours before entering Nigeria, the Nigerian Government still expects passengers who have conducted tests to pay hefty sums for tests that should be done for free.