The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, called for the prosecution of owners and staff of private laboratories issuing fake COVID-19 certificates across the country.
Gbajabiamila made this call during an interactive session with heads of various agencies under the Federal Ministry of Aviation. He expressed displeasure over the presence of these racketeers at the airport who engaged in unethical practices.
The Speaker advocated for the establishment of a government agency, such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to regulate the activities of operators within airports in Nigeria.
He said: “It’s not going to be one of those sessions where there will be no outcomes, I think one of the outcomes will be a law that specifically sets up an agency of government to oversee the operations of the airports like the TSA like I said.
“I think the TSA appears to be the silver bullet that cures most of the things we heard here and the chairmen of the relevant committees in the House led by the Aviation Committee, hopefully, will begin to put this together, hopefully within the next two weeks, we will have a draft of the bill.
“And if you can work with Mrs Jumoke Oduwole (Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business) will be hands-on, on the ease of doing business. And work with FAAN and all the other agencies as well. So that we can streamline operations at the airports which would include even the issue of the perennial touts. For wants of better words, let me call them, men and women that have no business at the airport.
“So in the next two weeks, let us see the draft so that we can set the ball rolling in the chambers and bring sanity to our airports,” he stated.
In his remarks, the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, revealed that some individuals who issued fake COVID-19 certificates were arrested and handed over to the Department of State Security (DSS) for prosecution. He argued that some of the private laboratories might not be involved in the fake COVID-19 certificates, but by some corrupt individuals who allegedly connived with some officials at the airports.
The Director of Port Health, Dr Godfrey Oratubo, also stated that the Port Health Agency is understaffed owing to the twenty private staff and three permanent staff laid off due to misconduct.
Responding to a question raised by the Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji on the allegation bothering on corrupt practices of personnel of various regulatory agencies at the airports, FAAN Managing Director, Rabiu Yadudu stated that regular meetings are held with the management team weekly and daily during the emergency period, to curb any of such practices.
By Ijeoma Ilekanachi…