COVID-19: FG to retain passports of travellers to Nigeria

The Federal Government says all persons –whether citizens or foreigners – coming into the country will be required to leave their passports with the Nigeria Immigration Service for two weeks pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.

The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this in a circular addressed to all diplomatic, consular and international organisations accredited to Nigeria.

In the circular dated June 10, 2020, with reference number BW/20/CIR.LET/III/2020, the government said the only category of persons that would be exempted from this new rule are those who possess a diplomatic passport.

It read in part, “Persons who have arrived in Nigeria are advised to self-isolate for 14 days and to remain in the city/state where the point of entry is located (i.e Lagos or Abuja) throughout the duration of self-quarantine.

“If not resident in Lagos, passengers shall make arrangements for accommodation at their own cost. Please note that the Federal Government will not be responsible for providing accommodation or transportation to the place of abode.

“Passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service System’s Migrant Identification and Data Analysis System and their passports retained until after successful completion of 14 days self-quarantine except diplomatic passport holders.”

It said after all the COVID-19 protocols had been followed, instructions would be given to the NIS to release the passports to their owners.

According to the circular, alternative arrangements could be made to collect passports via special delivery.

The government said persons who are unable to remain in Lagos or Abuja throughout the period of self-quarantine may return to their states of residence only after their samples have been collected and have tested negative for COVID-19.

Such persons must also make their full contact details available.

The government said anyone planning to visit Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 and such a test must be done two weeks before.

It said passengers would be given forms to fill which must include travel and health history.

The circular further states, “Passengers arriving/returning to Nigeria must have tested negative for COVID-19 (pre-boarding PCR test in country of departure). PCR test must be within two weeks before departure and preferably not less than five days pre-boarding.

“Tests done more than two weeks before departure are not valid and persons will not be allowed to board; but for the five days minimum, this advisory will not preclude boarding.

“On board, passengers are required to fill in the health declaration/self-reporting form and the sample collection time allocation form.”

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