By Oluwabukola Akanni
Ibadan, Oct. 7, 2021
No fewer than 1,900 Nigerian travellers tested positive for COVID-19 in the last five months as they arrived at their destinations abroad.
This is in spite of testing “negative’’ before departure from Nigeria, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, Chairman, Ministerial Experts Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Response, said on Thursday in Ibadan.
He said the high number of positive results recorded by international health authorities outside Nigeria implied that some Nigerians were falsifying COVID-19 test results.
Tomori, a professor of virology, was delivering a keynote address at the 2021 Health Week of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), University College Hospital, Ibadan chapter, when he made the declarations.
He spoke on: “COVID-19 vaccination: The Facts and the Myths.’’
“The report we got from the ports of entry in the last four to five months is that some of the travellers who left Nigeria with negative COVID-19 test results, tested positive on arrival in countries including the UK, Ghana and Mali.
“There are two ways to look at it; one, it is either they left the country with fake results or it is still possible that they could have been negative a day or two before leaving the country.
“However, that large number of positives on arrival at international points of entry gives the impression that many of them left Nigeria with forged results,’’ he stressed.
The renowned virologist said that faking COVID-19 test results for travels had adverse implications such as continued spread of the virus around the globe and loss of credibility by Nigeria.
“With the consistent large number, my fear is that they are sending out a lot of people with forged results.
“It is becoming known that some Nigerians, who don’t get tested, are presenting forged negative test results, which is a shame because we don’t have a system in the country to check this.
“It has to be people from outside who are discovering this and this brings a lot of shame to the country; we lose respect and we lose credibility,’’ Tomori stressed.
The virologist has called for increased testing, a fundamental in the fight against the dreaded virus.
Tomori also said that as of Oct. 4, only 3,090,114 samples had been tested in Nigeria.