The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) blocked 58 Nigerian doctors from flying to the United Kingdom for a training programme.

The agency’s spokesperson, Sunday James in a statement said the doctors had concluded plans to leave Nigeria via a special flight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

James said the NIS refused departure of the doctors because only two of them had visas, adding that the agency reserves the right to deny or allow people from coming into or leaving the country.

He said, “The Nigeria Immigration Service has refused departure of fifty-eight (58) Nigerian Doctors who attempted travelling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.

The Murtala Muhammed International Airport
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport

“The Fifty-eight (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 forty-two (42) medical doctors for a training programme but they were fifty-eight (58) with only two (2) having Visa for entry into the UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.”

James also said there was no official communication from the Ministry of Health or any medical body in Nigeria to inform the NIS about the doctors’ travel.

He further said, “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.”