Mr. Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General of NIS

Immigration affirms 100 Nigerian travellers violating COVID-19 protocols can’t get new passports

*It is not possible for the 100 violators to apply for new passports; we have passed that level in the Nigeria Immigration Service. The system will not re-issue the passports, even if they have lost their passports ─Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) commenced the full enforcement of travel restriction order on 100 air travellers who violated the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic safety protocols of the Federal Government, the agency has confirmed that there are no fresh international passports for such erring citizens.

Mr. Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General of NIS, said that the 100 travellers under travel restrictions could not bypass the country’s Immigration Service system to obtain new passports.

The Comptroller-General explained that the system would automatically detect and raise the alarm if any of the violators applied for passport re-issuance.

Babandede has the clarification in view of concerns that the violators whose passports had been seized might attempt to obtain new passports and sneak out of the country soon.

ConsumerConnect reports the affected individuals had been placed under six-month travel ban by the Federal Government with effect from January 1.

In a telephone interview Monday, January 4, 2020, he was quoted to have said that “it is not possible for them to apply for new passports; we have passed that level in the Nigeria Immigration Service. The system will not re-issue the passport even if they lost their passports, or say they want to change them; it would never work.”

Babandede, therefore, has directed NIS formations to enforce the travel ban imposed on 100 travellers, who allegedly flouted the mandatory seven-day post-arrival COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test.

Recall the NIS announced that the defaulting passengers had been restricted for six months, from January 1 to June 30, 2021, in line with the Federal Government’s directive.

Mr. Sunday James, Spokesman of the Nigeria Immigration Service, in a statement titled, Temporary Travel Restrictions On 100 Passengers Violating COVID-19 Quarantine Protocols’, Monday, January 4, said that the affected passengers had been notified and would be prevented from passport re-issuance and travelling outside the country during the restriction period.

Earlier, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had announced the sanction on the travellers in a memo titled, ‘Travel Restriction,’ released by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja, FCT, Friday, January 1, 2021.

Mustapha said the six-month travel restriction on the 100 violators of the COVID-19 protocols was based on “presidential authority”.

The NIS in its statement, therefore, warned the affected air travellers to comply with the directive to avoid breaching public health protocols and refusal of departure.

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