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TheCable at 7 Impact Stories Series (4): COVID-19 test racketeers exposed, leading to policy change

TheCable at 7 Impact Stories Series (4): COVID-19 test racketeers exposed, leading to policy change
April 27
14:35 2021

Seven, they say, is the number of perfection. At TheCable, our seventh anniversary offers a unique opportunity to celebrate our strive towards perfection and excellence in the media space.

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For these seven years since April 29, 2014, we’ve published under-reported and impact-driven stories, broken excellent stories, explored innovative ideas and covered new grounds that were scarcely highlighted in the industry.

Like the favourite hymnal, this is our story, this our song. We will be highlighting seven of our special stories that have made a huge impact, driven change and sparked public discourse in Nigeria.

A STORY THAT BIRTHED COVID-19 TEST VERIFICATION PORTALS, PROBE, ARRESTS AND PROSECUTION

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Lagos state, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, had just crossed over 20,000 confirmed cases of infection. Other states too were feeling the heat. The virus was wreaking havoc and the nation was losing its finest personalities. The federal government was on its toes to keep the pandemic at bay. Officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were having sleepless nights to manage the health crisis. But at the centre of this were airport workers, government officials and an organised rings hell-bent on ruining the efforts and successes recorded so far.

With the rising cases of COVID-19 globally, countries across the world began to ask travellers to produce test results showing their negative diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 as an entry requirement in order to slow its spread among their citizens. However, about two months after, the Presidential Task Force raised an alarm that fake test certificates showing a negative diagnosis of the novel coronavirus were being sold and that some travellers who presented such before travelling out of Nigeria ended up testing positive for the virus when they arrived their destination. Our reporters went undercover to Nigeria’s two major airports — the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja — to expose racketeers selling forged negative COVID-19 test results for as low as N25,000.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

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