Passengers traveling out of the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, were on Wednesday apprehensive over the non-availability of the International Certificate for Vaccination popularly known as Yellow Cards.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the Yellow Cards usually issued to Nigerians travelling overseas by the Port Health Services became scarce at the airport on Tuesday.
A NAN correspondent who visited the Port Health office at Lagos airport on Wednesday observed that intending travellers were inoculated for Yellow Fever and Cholera but were not issued the vaccination card.
A passenger travelling to Brazil, Mr Rufus Dike, told NAN that passengers were asked to come back to obtain the card which is an essential travelling document.
Dike said some passengers who were supposed to travel on Tuesday had to postpone their flights over failure to secure the card which was a major requirement by some African, European and South American countries at points of entry.
Another passenger, Mrs Bosede Ayeni, expressed disappointment over the inability of the Federal Ministry of Health to provide a card that costs less than N100 to produce but officially sold to passengers at N1000.
She therefore appealed to the authorities to ensure its availability in order not to frustrate the travel plans of passengers.
However, when contacted, the Director of Port Health Services, Dr Nike Okoh, denied the allegation, explaining that the cards were available but that there was a procedure for its issuance.
“The cards has been there before 10am this (Wednesday) morning and there is a procedure to be adopted when these cards are issued,’’ she said.
NAN recalled that 125 Nigerians were deported by the South African government on March 6, 2012 for not being in possession of valid Yellow Fever Vaccine cards.
The action almost led to a diplomatic row between both countries as the Federal Government retaliated by deporting 28 South Africans from Nigeria before the situation was eventually resolved.