THE Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has explained the reasons behind refusing 58 Nigerian Medical doctors from traveling to the United Kingdom on Friday.
Sunday James, the NIS Spokesperson in a statement disclosed that a UK-bound flight with aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London was refused departure from the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos State.
According to James, there was no official communication from the Nigerian Ministry of Health or any relevant body to notify the NIS of the traveling of 58 Nigerian medical doctors.
“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 statement read in part.
James said the chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to convey 42 Nigerian medical doctors for a training programme and not 58 of them.
He stated that the situation called for refusal of departure when the Immigration noticed that out of the 58 Nigerian medical doctors only two of them have a visa to the UK.
The agency maintained that the refusal was necessary to avoid the Nigerians being repatriated from their destination due to lack of visas which could result in the spread of COVID-19.
Furthermore, James wrote that the Immigration also refused the departure because it flouts the directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria on International flights due to COVID-19.
“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 Covid-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on the restriction of international flights unless for an essential reason as approved by the government,” the statement further read.
NIS stated that the action of the NIS is in line with the 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.