Stories by Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo
Fake information given by arriving passengers to avoid tracking them in the event there is a problem with the ravaging coronavirus globally, may have pushed the government to take other drastic measures to prevent the further spread to Nigeria.
This drastic measure is the deployment of telephones to entry points a the airports.
This measure is to ensure phone numbers filled by passengers on the health declaration forms are accurate to avoid the recent discovery by concerned agencies that phone numbers provided by some passengers who flew with the Italian man confirmed with the virus were wrong and could not be traced.
Dr. Wilfred Haggai, General Manager, Aeromedical Services, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, who disclosed this in an interview explained that government was not taking this discovery lying low but
discussions were on-going to use the telephones to randomly test numbers given by passengers on arrival at the airport.
“This is being discussed at high levels of the telephones being used, am not certain when they will start but that is the discussion going on so that they will be able to track those who give phone numbers that are not true, so that will start in earnest as soon as these telephones are deployed and we hope that with that people seeing that can be able to give us the right information.”
Dr.Haggai said any passengers who decline to be tested would be allowed to leave until the right numbers or addresses as the case may be were given to the port health officials or other agencies that may require them.
“At the airport now we are deploying some phones at the airport for
the port health, when you give phone numbers, they will test the number whether it works, if it doesn’t work, they will ask you to give the right number or you don’t pass.”
“So, we are working to see people who put fake phone numbers, we will do randomly sampling, random taking, they ask you to step aside, take your phone, call that number, if it doesn’t go through then you give us the right, except we get the number that goes through, you don’t pass.”
Dr. Haggai also stated other sources of information as required, the port health would contact the agencies concerned like the Nigerian Immigration Services, the airlines etc.
“We are also working with the Nigeria Immigration Service to see for those who do not provide the right information, we can track them to their data base at the NIS to see that also we get the information from there, we are working with all agencies, it is a multi-sectoral, multi-agency collaboration going on.”