COVID-19: FG to Withhold Passports of Returning Nigerians

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Edozie Udeojo,Abuja

To be released after successful test/completion of 14-day self-quarantine

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 on the COVID-19 protocols to be observed by passengers arriving Nigeria, which includes depositing their passports with the Nigeria Immigration Service for two weeks, pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama confirmed this development in a telephone chat last Night.

On the same day, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 15,181, with 4,891 patients discharged and 399 deaths recorded.

The circular is in line with the revised quarantine protocol released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 last Monday for the evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad and other persons arriving Nigeria from any country

According to the revised quarantine protocol which comes into immediate effect, the arrivals are expected 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.

The protocol states further: “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 protocol, alternative arrangements could be made to collect passports via special delivery.

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