Barely two months to the expiration of the current Yellow Card for regional and international travellers, the Port Health at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, a department in the Ministry of Health, has introduced an electronic machine that would detect fake copies of the document.
The Yellow Card is issued to travellers and is the international certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis.
The new Yellow Card would fully commence on April 1, 2019 at every border post in the country.
The Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Health had increased the price of the card by 100 per cent — from N1,000 to N2,000 in 2018.
Earlier this month, government also said to obtain the e-Yellow Card, one has to register on the official website in addition to paying N2,000.
However, investigation carried out by SaharaReporters indicated that at the Lagos Airport office of Port Health, some touts connive with personnel of the department to register applicants online, with an additional cost of N700, thereby bringing the total pay to N2,700.
A source close to the department told our correspondent on Tuesday that the introduction of the electronic machine to detect fake Yellow Cards would put an end to the issue of travelling out of Nigeria with fake immunisation cards.
The move is to deal the last blow on activities of Yellow Card syndicates which have “caused great embarrassment to many Nigerian travellers and the nation at large particularly in South Africa”.
The machine looks similar to a Point of Sale (POS) machine, and would be deployed to airlines’ check-in- counters, where any fake Yellow Card would be detected.
To detect originality, officials would simply type the serial number on the card into the machine, which would bring out every data required, including where and when the card was obtained.
Apart from the above information, the new machine would also display the name of the nurse or medical officer who administered the vaccine on the passenger, the type of inoculation and the expiry date of the immunisation.
According to the source, the new Yellow Card has enhanced security features, including a bar code, which if scanned displays the details of the bearer of the card and other necessary information.
“The government wants to curb the usage of fake Yellow Cards, which is rampant in circulation. You will recall that in 2017, Nigeria almost had a diplomatic row with Ghana and South Africa on the Yellow Card. It has consistently been an embarrassment to the government and the nation at large.
“But, with the introduction of the new card, such era would be a thing of the past and whatever card that is issued in the country is certain to be the original and not the other way round.”
The new Yellow Card would take full effect on April 1, 2019, at every border post in the country.