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FG cancels visas issued to travellers from countries affected by flight ban

FG cancels visas issued to travellers from countries affected by flight ban
March 18
17:41 2020

The federal government has cancelled visas issued to travellers from the 13 countries it imposed a flight ban on over coronavirus.

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Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the federal executive council meeting of Wednesday.

The 13 countries are: China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland.

“In addition to the measures announced by the secretary to the government of federation, the federal government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travelers from the following 13 countries China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Switzerland,” he said.

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“These are all countries with over 1,000 case of the virus domestically. What this really means is that we are suspending issuance of visas and we are canceling all visas already issued to citizens or travelers from these nations. It will take effect from Saturday, March 21, and will will last for four weeks for the time being, while development will dictate what will happen thereafter.”

He said the government was considering other measures and decisions taken would be made public at the appropriate time.

Asked if the government had cancelled all flights from the affected countries, Aregbesola said: “Precisely yes. Beyond that, we are suspending insurance of visa from citizens and travels from those nations as well as canceling already issued visas. So there is no ambiguity at all, it is clear. We are no longer allowing flights from those citizens for now.”

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On Nigerians abroad returning home, he said: “Well, I am not a lawyer but flights from those nations can no longer enter Nigeria with effect from Saturday.”

On possible job loss of ground staff or salary slash, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, said: “This is a national emergency. We are talking about national interest now and I believe that what is most important for us is to save millions of Nigerians not just from their own jobs but their lives. I think if put on the balance, it’s clear which option should be adopted. Of course, it will bring some hardship as it is bringing in other parts of the world but when you put it on the balance the option is very clear and the interest of Nigeria is paramount and superior to any other personal interest.”

On if there will be restrictions in religious gatherings, the information minister said there is a presidential task force on COVID-19 and a multi-sectoral emergency operation committee by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will keep Nigerians up to date as developments unfold.

“As it is necessary announcement will be made regarding social distancing, personal hygiene as at when due. But the message is that Nigerians should take ownership of this pandemic and we should self-regulate. A lot of decisions have been taken by other countries which shows that when there is national interest and the safety of people, all other matters pal to insignificance. But we will let you know when such decision will be taken,” he said.

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