By Martin Cole-
A Nigerian lady has shared a tormenting experience she had after she challenged immigration officials in Nigeria who were neither wearing masks nor gloves, yet talking and touching passports at Nigeria’s Mohammadu Buhari Airport.
The angry woman was subjected to victimisation for simply making her valid objections, which she immediately shared on Instagram via @temitope_olagbegi.
The news comes on day that Minister Of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that no fewer than 60 Lagos-Ibadan railway project workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr Amaechi said that the development of those infections will affect the January 2021 completion date of the project.
He told reporters in Nigeria:“First let us admit that over 60 of our staff, not Ministry of Transportation staff, but the staff working on the rail project, have been infected by the virus.
The experience of the woman was brought to the attention of The Eye of Media.Com by reporters in Nigeria, who selectively alert this publication to news stories of international public interest. One reporter who insisted on anonymity told this publication ” it has to be of serious concern if immigration officials are prepared to risk spreading the virus by not abiding by safety protocols. There should be an inquiry into this failing”.
Nigeria is seeing more infections of COVID-19 but it is not yet certain if that is from the variant, said Omilabu, the director of the Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology at the Lagos University College of Medicine and Teaching Hospital.
Ms Olagbebi, who revealed that she lost a dear friend to Covid-19, also told of the level of intimidation and victimisation she faced by the officers as she decided to video and photograph the officials, who were visibly not wearing masks, defying national guidelines for them to do so.
She wrote: “It was a heart breaking experience for me coming into the country to see the Nigerian Immigration not wearing masks. I lost it! “How can you be handling multiple passports without gloves or masks. These guys speak to people and droplets can get unto passports.
Is this not how the virus is transmitted? I said to them in a friendly manner at first to wear their masks and the complete disregard infuriated me. “I began to scream. I couldn’t take it. Are they ignorant? If they are ignorant, I dare say, they should not be there as, govt representatives.
”I lost a dear friend to COVID less than a month ago. Why is this not being taking seriously? The front line into the country!! It made no sense to me. “And when I started to raise my voice, my passport was seized. The official told me to make sure I go to Lagos Island to shout at them to wear their masks. “Unbelievable!! Did they think seizing my passport would scare me? No way. I demanded to see the highest authority.
In another post, she shared how she had to stand her ground before passports for herself and her family members were eventually released. “I got the insults of my life in the 2 hours my passport and that of my family members were held down.
Immigration official photographed by aggrieved woman
The woman claimed she was told by the authorities that as a woman I had no right to challenge the men to wear their masks. “I was told I must have been ill brought up and I must be a bad wife and mother to my children. At some point, the age on my passport was checked and they said, I was not even their mate.
“I had to ask the supposed Oga(native word for boss) speaking to me if these were the appropriate responses to give to a woman demanding the right thing to be done by his officers. At no point did he say, “Guys, put on your masks!”. It was one insult to the other from him until he realized I was unflinching.
A variant of the Covid-19 was reportedly found in Nigeria, which has seen a surge in infections.
Virologist Sunday Omilabu . who has been conducting genetic sequencing to understand the nature of the strain and explore how it can be contained said:
“We clearly have more people coming down with severe signs and symptoms, and it shows us that something is happening. There’s a surge so we are recording that but we are yet to sequence any of those isolates,” to determine if the increased transmissions are caused by the variant.
“We need to be monitoring the virus, we need to sequence. If we sequence then we would have more information about what is in circulation and then, of course, we need to continue with surveillance, we need to monitor how active the virus is in the environment … so the public health experts, they have work to do and then government must support all these”.