Journalism of Courage

FG to clamp down on COVID-19 vaccination certificate racketeers, prosecute them

…promised to vaccinate 50% of Nigerians by end of January 2022


The Federal Government says it will soon clamp down on COVID-19 vaccination certificate racketeers with a resolve to prosecute them.

It said through reliable intelligence an illegal market for procuring vaccination certificates by some unscrupulous elements has been uncovered.

The Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the committee’s media briefing in Abuja on Monday.

He, however, assured that arrangements were being put in place to vaccinate 50 percent of Nigerians by the end of January 2022.

“We have received intelligence and even detected that some unscrupulous citizens are procuring vaccination cards through the black market.

“Let me assure everyone that the vaccination records/certificates will be verified and this should serve as a warning to those criminally minded persons to desist because they will be prosecuted accordingly,” Persecondnews quotes Mustapha as saying.

He assured that fake vaccination certificates would be detected as they would be subjected to screening at the appropriate time.

On the pandemic, the SGF noted that locally and internationally the virus has continued to while it was becoming more virulent in some places.

He said:”The vaccination process is being accelerated as arrangements are being concluded for a mass roll-out of vaccines as from Friday, November 20, 2021, with the target of achieving the vaccination of about 50% of the population by the end of January next year.

“The PSC has not briefed the nation for some time now, but we have been working and monitoring the trends around the world, so that the national response can continue to be based on data, research and experience.

“The situation is still challenging, hence, the need to continue to strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical intervention measures.

“We are currently seeing some surges in cases in some countries in Europe (especially eastern Europe) due to under vaccination. In other territories where massive vaccinations have occurred, the infections are rising.

“What we see in Nigeria right now is that there is an increase in case fatality ratio, which calls for great concern.

“In our last briefing, we announced the Vaccine Mandate for 1st December, 2021. I will like to state that this is in the best interest of Nigeria, looking at what is happening globally. We are gearing up to further engage with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to push through the mass vaccination programme and mandate for our citizens.

“The vaccination phase is being accelerated and the NPHCDA has concluded arrangements to roll-out a mass vaccination plan with effect from Friday, November 20, 2021.

“Efforts are also on-going to bring on board the booster dose so as to build a health level of anti-bodies.”

On when to end COVID-19 in the country, Mustapha said the PSC would host a National Summit from December 6 to 8, 2021 towards ending it early 2022.

“The PSC is approaching the end of its nine months mandate by the end of December 2021. To effectively capture the core elements of our national response, a National Summit to end COVID-19 in 2022 and to strengthen Global Health Security is being planned to hold in Abuja from 6 – 8 December, 2021.

“It is imperative that all hands must be on deck, if we must lay a solid foundation for: a sustainable response to COVID which will be with us for quite some time; and

continue to push to minimize the impact on health and economic sectors.”

On the inconveniences that had been imposed on air travellers by the outbreak of the pandemic, the SGF said the nation’s international travel portal had been primed to give more effective services and get them conversant with the various travel protocols of their destinations.

“The National International Travel Protocol portal has been upgraded to meet existing protocol and the demands of our travelling public. The portal is now live and running smoothly.

“Travelers leaving the country are encouraged to be conversant with the travel protocols of all countries (origin, transit and destination). This has become necessary because of comments and reports in the media that some citizens are denied boarding due to lack of pre-departure protocol compliance.

“Others returning home also complained about requirements to be met. The protocols are clear and simple and they should be observed accordingly,” Mustapha said.

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