By Ajibola Abayomi
The Nigeria Immigration Service, (NIS) Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos has refused departure of 58 Nigerian doctors who attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.
A statement issued by the National Public Relations Officer of NIS, Deputy Comptroller James Sunday on Friday on behalf of the Comptroller General of the NIS, Muhammad Babandede, stated that 56 of the doctors had no visa for entry to United Kingdom, while only two had visa.
“The 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 forty-two doctors for a training program but they were 58 with only two having Visa for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.
“The Nigeria Immigration Service as the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria of persons will not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians who should know the procedures for travelling out of their country and the requirements, which include having a valid visa for entry into a destination country to leave.”
The NIS Spokesman added that the action was taken to to avoid refusal of entry and repatriation of the medical personnel back to Nigeria amidst Covid-19 pandemic as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by government.
“There is 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 the doctors.”
The Aircraft departed for London without the doctors.
James added that Babandede advised Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols and ensure they have valid passports with visa to the country they intended travelling to before going to any Airport, Seaport or Land Border Control to avoid refusal to depart.