The Controller-General (CG), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr Muhammed Babandede, has said the Service has blocked the passports of 100 passengers who failed to carry out day-7 COVID-19 test, from travelling out of the country.
The Federal Government had ordered restriction of 100 passengers from traveling out of the country in the next six months for violating COVID-19 protocols by not carrying out test after returning to the country.
However, Babandede said NIS would implement Federal Government’s directive on travel ban for such passengers.
Babandede stated this at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja.
”It is clear to everybody that the future of travels is health. The next visa for global travel is health especially the COVID-19 certificate.
”I can assure you that you may not be able to cross Nigerian borders without the vaccine certificate or your COVID-19 test.
“Also, it is our duty to implement the directive of Mr President, the powers are enshrined in the Immigration Act, the Constitution and from the regulation for COVID-19.
“The powers are there to restrict the person that has refused to comply with any regulation. This is because lack of compliance to COVID-19 regulations is a threat to public health,” he said.
According to him, public health is a big issue in the country and so, based on that directive, “we have complied by blocking 100 passports from traveling.”
Babandede said this meant that even if they went to police and declared those passports missing, they would not be reissued anywhere in the world.
He said that they would not also cross the national borders until the period of six months or communication received from the right authorities stating that they had compiled.
”This will also include non-Nigerians; we have the powers to revoke visas, even the Controller-General has the power to revoke visas.
“So, based on the powers given and additional condition for entering Nigeria today, you must have COVID-19 test result, we will make you to comply. You must have evidence of payment. If you do the test it means you have complied.
“If you have not done the test it means you have violated the condition of entering the country; your visa will be revoked,” he said.
Babandede said that he wanted to assure Nigerians that immigration was implementing the directives.
He added that he had started receiving calls from those whose passports numbers were published.
He said he told them that there was no problem, adding that he told them also that he didn’t put their numbers there but that they violated the protocols.
Babandede said that he advised them to go back to the health sector and make sure they complied.
“You see Nigerians are wonderful, they refused to do the tests; but after over a month of returning to the country now they are calling to say they want to travel as their children are returning to school.
”Please comply; immigration has no business with anybody; we are implementing the directives handed down to us,” he said in a report by NAN.