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Immigration stops 58 Britain-bound doctors at Lagos airport

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) said on Friday its operatives stopped 58 doctors from travelling to the United Kingdom for a training programme.

The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede, who disclosed this in a statement, said the doctors were stopped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Friday.

He said 56 of the 58 doctors who were to be airlifted to Britain on a special flight for a training programme had no entry visas to the European nation.

The statement read: “The 58 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.

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“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 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.

“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.”

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