Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has stopped 58 medical doctors from leaving the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos via a chartered flight.
According to a statement signed by Immigration spokesman, Sunday James, 56 doctors had no visa for entry to the United Kingdom, while only two had a valid visa.
The statement stressed that the NIS had received no notification from the “Ministry of Health in Nigeria or any known Medical body” of the doctors’ itinerary.
NIS noted that the chartered flight was approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program but they were 58 with only two having complete documents.
It added that the chartered flight has departed for London, UK without the doctors.
Read the full NIS statement:
NIS REFUSES DEPARTURE OF 58 NIGERIAN MEDICAL DOCTORS TO LONDON THROUGH MURTALA MUHAMMED INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, LAGOS BY A CHARTERED FLIGHT
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
It is however unclear if the doctors planned to relocate to the UK, as many Nigerians trainee doctors yearly migrate to other countries.
With over 30,000 COVID-19 cases, the role of health workers are very important in flattening the curve.