The COVID 19 pandemic has given the government the leeway to make victims out of its citizens living abroad. It is a must for you if you are planning a visit to the country from anywhere in the world to go to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, website to obtain a clearance to enter the borders of Nigeria.
After filling all the mandatory forms you’re told to pay the sum of N50,000 for the COVID 19 test they will administer on you on arrival in the country. The Nigerian government is very ingenious at corruption, if you think you’re smart by delaying paying this money until you get to Nigeria, you’re mistaken. They have been able to get the airlines on their side. If you arrived at the airport without the receipt of this payment the airlines would compel you to pay or forfeit your trip.
At the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Rome, a departing Nigerian for Lagos was made to pay the sum of €116 which when converted came to over N58,000. Wait for it, in Nigeria there was no test. The fellow never received a promised email to indicate how to go about the test.
AfroLife findings indicate that this is a scam being perpetrated by the government of Nigeria. Travellers who spoke to this magazine had tales of woes. The number on the receipt of payment is always switched off. Appear at any of the designated centres for the test you will be told to pay for it.
In Lagos, AfroLife visited the Mainland Hospital at Yaba. There an officer tried to put a brave face on the scam by accusing those who made payment abroad of not coming forward. When asked how those he accused were suppose to know where and when to take the test without furnishing them such information, the officer told the reporter that they had close for the day and quickly walked away.
COVID 19 UNLEASHES BEASTS ON THE DIASPORA
At the Murtala Mohammed International in Lagos, the COVID 19 it seems has unleashed officers who are bent on extorting money from Nigerians in the Diaspora. Be they officers in the immigration or custom what would confront you these days at the airport is open solicitation for bribe.
One custom woman at the screening machine as you enter the departure hall is busy applying her skills squeezing anything out of her departing compatriots. It’s a nightmare now to be travelling through that airport.
DIASPORA: THEY WANT OUR MONEY NOT US
To further afflict the diaspora, don’t even bother taking such item as yam, garri or amala with you because the Nigerian government through a so called Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Office is having a field day at the airport. The operatives of this office take you to their corner at the departure hall where you’re told to pay N2,000 for one or two items in your luggage. If you don’t insist on a receipt you will never get one.
AfroLife counted up to nine persons being held back for the N2,000 payment at one go, but of this number only one person was issued a receipt. At the departure hall the airlines operatives have become gods unto themselves. They solicit bribes for everything including COVID 19 test results.
One traveller from Atlanta Georgia in the United States of America lamented the constant harassment for money Nigerians in diaspora are subjected to at the airport. He said the government and various operatives in the airport are taking advantage of “our love for country, knowing well that no matter how bad they treat us we would always come back.”