January 14, 2022
By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Following the stranding of over 50 passengers at the Lungi International Airport due to the failure of the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Centre(NACOVERC) to produce Covid-19 results through the travel portal, which they say was faulty, spokesperson of the centre, Solomon Jamiru, has in a short video apologized to the stranded passengers.
Over 50 passengers were reported to have missed their flights and remained stranded at the Lungi International Airport on Wednesday 12th January 2022.
According to report from the airport, the travel portal was shut down for over a day which consequently led to people not having access to their Covid-19 results. Thus manual certificates were prepared and sent to the airport, but the flight rejected the results because they were having no barcodes.
Short videos went viral where a host of disgruntle passengers were lambasting the inefficiency of NaCOVERC and the airport authorities and government by extension.
Speaking through the short video, Solomon Jamiru stated that since the resumption of commercial flight in the cause of the pandemic, NaCOVERC has been able to serve over 70 thousand in bound and out bound passengers through their travel portal www.travel.gov.sl.
“Regrettably, between last night and this morning a good number of passengers could not travel out of this country because the sight has been down. As a result of that the passengers couldn’t access their negative results in due time. NaCOVERC is apologizing to all passengers who may have been affected as a result of this issue with the site. The good news is through our ICT Consortium, the sight has been restored and so NaCOVERC will frantically work with the Civil Aviation Authorities and the management at airport to ensure that flights are rebooked and that all those affected are comfortably accommodated. Once again, sincere apology on behalf of NaCOVERC,” he assured.
Prior to that situation at the airport, there was a huge outcry from a host of Sierra Leoneans including pressmen, fans and delegation of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) who were also stranded at the Lungi Airport because of payment issue of Covid-19 test between government agencies and NaCOVERC.
Following the unfortunate situation, popular journalist, Amadu Lamrana Bah, who doubles as the President for Reporters Union, posted on his Facebook page, “I pray for that day when Sierra Leonean will not be allowed to suffer even when they are trying to be so patriotic to go celebrate their national team”.
He explained that flight to Douala that was to be at 2pm was canceled because covid-19 test results were not available due to due to payment issues between government agencies National Sport Authority and (NaCOVERC).
“We have almost done with check-in for an Air Maroc flight that is expected at 8pm. In all this, we are here with the Leone Stars Match kits for tomorrow’s opening match against Algeria,” he stated.