The Nigeria Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos has refused departure of 58 Nigerian doctors who attempted travelling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London, it said in a statement.
The statement signed by Sunday James Service Public Relations Officer of the Service said only two of the doctors had visas for entry into the United Kingdom. It said the 58 medical doctors were refused departure in line with the law.
The approved chartered flight was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program but 58 doctors with only two having a visa for entry into the UK showed up. “A situation that calls for refusal of departure” the statement stated. “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 the Covid19 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” it stated.
According to him, they 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. He quoted the Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede as advising Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols and ensure they have valid passports with valid visa to the country they intend travelling to avoid refusal to depart.
The statement noted 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.