Operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, have refused departure of 58 Nigerian doctors.
The Spokesman of the service, Sunday James, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Mr James said the doctors attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.
According to him, 56 of the doctors had no visa for entry to the United Kingdom, while only two (2) had visas.
“The 58 Medical Doctors were refused departure in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, of Act 2015.
“This means, on powers conferred on the Comptroller General, NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, 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 visas for entry into the UK.
“A situation that calls for refusal of departure,” he said.
Mr James said NIS as the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria of persons would not allow individuals or groups of well-educated Nigerians to disobey the laws.
He added that those 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, should not violate the laws.
“This is to avoid refusal of entry and repatriation back to Nigeria amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
“And also spreading the same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on restriction of international flights unless for essential reasons as approved by the 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 is taking this opportunity to advise Nigerians to always adhere to travel protocols.
“They should ensure they have valid passports with valid visas to the country they intended travelling to before going to any Airport, Seaport or Land Border Control to avoid refusal to depart.