By Chinedu Eze
The Nigeria Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos Friday stopped the departure of 58 Nigerian foctors to London.
The Nigerian doctors had attempted to board a chartered UK-bound flight number ENT 550 with registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.
Immigration said 56 of the doctors had no visa for entry to United Kingdom, while only two had visa.
“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 42 medical 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,” Immigration said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sunday James.
The statement also explained that the Nigeria Immigration Service as the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria of persons would 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,” the statement said.
It also 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.
“The aircraft has departed for London without the Medical Doctors.The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede 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,” the statement added.