The Nigeria Immigration Service has disclosed that its officers turned back no fewer than 58 Nigerians doctors traveling to the United Kingdom by a chartered flight over visa issues.
It explained that the medical experts who attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, with registration number SP-ES that flew in from London were refused departure after it was gathered that the doctors had no Visa for entry into their preferred destination.
The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, said that the service action was in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, of the Immigration Act 2015.
Babandede, through a statement released to newsmen on Friday by the NIS Public Relations Officer, DCI Sunday James, noted that stated section of the Immigration Act 2015 prohibits departure of any passenger under such conditions with no entry visa to the preferred destination.
He added that the chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was meant to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program and that those present for departure were 58 with 2 having entry visas into the UK.
“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 traveling out of their country and the 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 COVD-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on the 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 Medical Doctors. The Aircraft has departed for London without the Medical Doctors,’’ the statement read.
The NIS boss, however, advised Nigerians to avoid such incidence by ensuring they adhere to travel protocols and come to airport, seaport, or land border control with valid passports and valid visas of their intended traveling destination to avoid refusal to depart.