By: Adelani Adepegba
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammed Babandede, has warned that foreign visitors who failed to present their COVID-19 test certificates on arrival in the country will have their visas revoked.
The immigration service boss said he has the powers as enshrined in the Immigration Act to revoke visas and confiscate passports of offenders, stressing that the next visa for global travel is the COVID-19 certificate.
Speaking at the weekly briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday, Babandede assured that the 100 travellers under a travel ban for flouting the mandatory seven-day post-arrival COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test can not obtain fresh passports or compromise the NIS officers, adding that the system was automated and cannot be bypassed or manipulated.
Babandede stated, “The public health is a big issue in the country and based on that directives, we have complied by blocking 100 passports from travelling, which means, even if they go to the police and declare those passports missing, they cannot be reissued anywhere in the world and they cannot cross our national borders until the period of six months or communication received from the right authorities stating that they have complied.
“This will also include non-Nigerians; we have the powers to revoke visas, the comptroller-general has the power to revoke visas.”
The NIS boss said based on the powers he had and the additional conditions for entering the country, every visitor must have the COVID-19 test result.
He vowed to make travellers comply, noting that the lack of compliance with COVID-19 regulations was a threat to public health.
Babandede said some of the individuals under the travel restrictions have been calling him to seek assistance, adding that he simply asked them to comply with the regulations.
“Please comply, immigration has no business with anybody, we are implementing the directives handed down to us. 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 cautioned.