By Lawani Mikairu
Some facts have emerged why 58 Nigerian medical doctors who were denied departure to the UK through the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, were traveling without UK Visas.
The medical doctors were going to the UK for recruitment at NES Healthcare. A letter from the recruitment director currently in circulation shows that the medical doctors had Visa waiver letters arranged by the NES Healthcare recruitment director.
The letter from the director to the Nigerian medical doctors reads: ” I am the recruitment director with NES Healthcare and I will like to inform you of an important update”.
” As you are aware, the TLSContact Visa centres are currently closed and there is no guidance as to when they will be reopening. In addition, we are aware that there are no immediate plans to reopen Nigeria airspace to international commercial flight”.
“We have therefore been in discussion with UKVI ( UK Visa and Immigration ) about a potential solution that would allow you to travel to UK”.
” With their agreement, we will issue you a visa waiver letter – this will enable you to travel to the UK and to then apply for Visa once you are here.
“We are also planning to arrange for a private charter flight to the UK, leaving from Lagos w/c 6th July ( exact date to be confirmed but this will most likely be 10th or 11th July.
“The cost of the flight will be heavily subsidized by NES Healthcare so we will only ask for a contribution of £500 towards this”.
“To put this into action, I do need the following confirmation from you by 9 am tomorrow morning ( 19 th June ):
“You are able to join the flight leaving from Lagos w/c 6th July. You understand that you will contribute £ 500 towards the cost of the flight.
The UK address that you will be staying at UK( this will be the address that we will use for your Visa.)”.
Recall the Nigeria Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, ,Lagos command on Friday refused departure of fifty-eight (58) Nigerian Doctors who attempted traveling aboard a UK bound aircraft flight number ENT 550, registration number SP-ES that flew in from London.
Fifty-Six (56) of the Doctors had no Visa for entry to United Kingdom, while only two (2) had visa.
According to DCI Sunday James, Service Public Relations Officer, NIS, 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 program but they were fifty-eight (58) with only two (2) having Visa for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure”.
“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 restriction of international flights unless for essential reason as approved by 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,” James said