SWITZERLAND, JULY 11 – Operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, have refused the departure of 58 Nigerian doctors.
Spokesman of the service, Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Mr. James said the doctors attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.
According to him, only two (2) out of the 58 doctors had visas for entry into the United Kingdom,
“Medical doctors were refused departure in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, on powers conferred on the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service by the Immigration Act 2015, to prohibit departure of any person under the conditions stated in the Act.
“The chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program but they were 58 with only two having Visa for entry into the UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure,” the statement read.
The statement also explained that the Nigeria Immigration Service is saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria of persons and it would not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians who should know the standard traveling protocols bypass necessary requirements, which include having a valid visa for entry into a destination country to leave.
“This is to avoid refusal of entry and repatriation back to Nigeria amidst Covid-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on the restriction of international flights unless for an essential reason as approved by the government.”
It also noted that that there was no official communication to the Service from the Ministry of Health in Nigeria or any known Medical body notifying the NIS of the travel of this number of Medical Doctors.
“The aircraft has departed for London without the Medical Doctors. The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede is taking this opportunity to advise Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols and ensure they have valid passports with a valid visa to the country they intended travelling to before going to any airport, seaport or land border control to avoid refusal to depart,” it added.