By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju
Words have been going round that COVID-19 was a cover for unprecedented looting and conversion, I believe it now. One Minister even swore that every Nigerian got COVID-19 money or “palliative”. Who dare confront her? It is the turn of those who reside abroad, travel for business to line pockets and pat Sinzu money. The Nigerian government will be charging $131 for a test they got for free, that costs at most $23. For comparison Kenya charges $10 equivalent for the same test. What a country! When government itself steals from its citizens, where is hope? Where is redemption?
Each time I write, it is based on my opinion. Today, I decided to ask you, my friends, what your thoughts are on the N50k government approved fleecing of inbound passengers of international flights. It is interesting to read your opinion. I am glad I am not the only one who thinks of the N50k test, as a racket. It is nauseating when a country steals from the people. Those of us who are interested in coming to Nigeria are mandated to present a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 96 hours old. In addition to draconian requirements, we must pay N50k for a test the government got for free. Why can’t the test be offered as a public good with the humongous airport tax we already pay, making Nigeria one of the most expensive destinations anywhere? It is shameful that the government is bent on administering a nauseating tax and extortion racket. If we assume a conservative figure of 2,000 passengers flying into Nigeria , the government will be making N100m a day. I can bet all I have, that this money will find its way into some preferred pockets. It is like adding water with teaspoon into the ocean. There are pertinent questions we must ask ourselves.
Why is the government doing this to people who already support their home country through remittances?
Who are those abroad who make remittances to support the economy of Nigeria?
Who are those who travel most for business?
How will this fraudulent tax be distributed, if at all?
I am happy they are pushing us to think. I like it. We are getting there.