The bid by 58 medical doctors to leave the country for the United Kingdom through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos was blocked on Friday by the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS over claim that only two of them have some of the documents needed for the trip.
Sunday James, the spokesperson for the NIS said in a statement that 56 of the doctors who wanted to leave Lagos for UK via a chartered flight had no visa for entry to the United Kingdom.
As a result, the NIS said the chartered flight left without the doctors.
He added that the NIS had received no notification from the Ministry of Health in Nigeria or any known Medical body of the doctors’ itinerary.
The NIS added that it “will not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians who should know the procedures for travelling out of their country and the requirements” to flout relevant laws, especially amid a coronavirus pandemic.
“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 restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by government,” the statement said.
Read the full NIS statement:
10th July 2020
NIS REFUSES DEPARTURE OF 58 NIGERIAN MEDICAL DOCTORS TO LONDON THROUGH MURTALA MUHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LAGOS BY A CHARTERED FLIGHT
1. The Nigeria Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos has refused departure of fifty-eight (58) Nigerian Doctors who attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London. Fifty-Six (56) of the Doctors had no Visa for entry to United Kingdom, while only two (2) had visa.
2. The Fifty-eight (58) 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 forty-two (42) medical doctors for a training program but they were fifty-eight (58) with only two (2) having Visa for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.
3. 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. 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 restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by government.
4. 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.
5.The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, MFR, is taking this opportunity to advise Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols and ensure they have Valid passports with Valid Visa to the country they intended travelling to before going to any Airport, Seaport or Land Border Control to avoid refusal to depart.
DCI Sunday James pcc
Service Public Relations Officer
For: Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service