The Nigeria Immigration Service said it stopped 58 doctors from travelling to the United Kingdom.
The doctors were stopped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday.
According to a statement by the NIS Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, 56 of the 58 doctors billed to be airlifted to the UK on a special flight for a “training programme” in London were refused departure as they had no entry visas to their destination country.
The service disclosed that the aircraft had departed for London without the medical doctors.
It said, “The 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 42 medical doctors for a training programme, but they were 58 with only two having visas for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.”
As the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria, the service said it would not allow individuals who should know the procedures for travelling abroad, from leaving the country.
“This is to avoid refusal of entry and repatriation to Nigeria amid COVID-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on the restriction of international flights unless for an essential reason as approved by the government,” the NIS noted
It explained that there was no official communication to the service from the Ministry of Health or any known medical body notifying the NIS of the travel of the doctors