Sunday , 25 September 2022
Nigeria immigration service (NIS) officials carrying out their responsibilities at airports. Caveat: ( No suspected human trafficker or trafficked on this picture)

COVID-19: Lull in travel at MMIA as Visa on Arrival issuance slumps

  • As Nigeria Immigration denies 24 passengers, mostly female boarding

VISA on Arrival (VOA) has gone an all time low at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, no thanks to the effects of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic currently rocking the entire world as incoming passengers slated to get visas have reduced significantly since January.

This is just as the NIS says that it has denied 24 passengers, most of whom are female, travelling  stating that they neither met the travel requirement nor had valid reasons to want to travel.

Nigerianflightdeck found out that the VOA which in December was over one thousand applications and issuance reduced in January and further declined in February.

The Comptroller Murtala Muhammed Airport Command, Abdullahi Usman who confirmed this decline said,” The numbers of our guest coming in has reduced that is the effect of the covid-19 we have seen, the number have reduced.

He said,” For example In December we had over one thousand plus,  in January we had over 400 plus that arrived and in February we have about 250 you can see the difference so those are the reduction and we were able to trace it to the corona virus and not even foreigners alone, even our citizens the number, the influx has reduced too, the activities of the airport in terms of passenger movement has reduced. NIS is not a revenue service but it also translates to loss of revenue too.

On how the service at the airport has fared at the nation’s airport, he said:”We are already lucky because we have port health services among us and that is where we got the impact of synergy, the Port Health service sensitizes us on what we are expected to do in this kind of situation and the hand held equipment given to us and from time to time we receive expert advice from the Port Health.

On the denial of passengers travelling out, Usman said they are now with the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

“From 1st week of March till now, we have refused about 24 passengers travelling out of the country because they don’t have visible means of living and the NIS requirement for travelling out of the country is not adhered to and many of them are ladies and 24 were refused and handed over to NAPTIP.

“The issue is that someone is travelling to a country and they don’t know where they are going to, you ask they are going for  a visit; whom are they visiting? No reason, no evidence  of who they are visiting and so we now think, if someone is going out of this country and they have  no idea of where they are going to, most likely it’s a human trafficking issue we now refer them to NAPTIP.

“Some will now come they are going for a job, no employment letter; what kind of a job are you going for? They say when they get there they will give them job, who/ they say their sister…all fictitious reasons. For them not to be embarrassed we cancel them here.

“The luck we have in this command is the location we cancel them on not going are the same locations those returnees are coming from and very many of them now interface themselves so we are so happy we talk less o them, their peers do it for them,” he said.

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