The government of Seychelles has implemented a temporary ban on Nigerian passport holders wishing to visit the country for tourism purposes. The decision follows an increase in drug trafficking and fraudulent activities involving Nigerian nationals.
While the ban does not affect Nigerians with diplomatic passports or valid work/resident permits. It aims to address security concerns related to organized syndicates and suspicious travel patterns.
Ahmed Afif, the Vice-President of Seychelles, explained the rationale behind the ban, stating, “We have observed a dangerous trend of criminal activities in the country, particularly in relation to individuals from Nigeria.”
He emphasized the need for heightened scrutiny, especially for short-duration holiday visits, which have raised suspicions due to organized syndicates.
Afif highlighted instances where individuals claiming to be on holiday for just a day or two were found to be part of an organized drug trafficking network. The government uncovered a clear link between these activities and certain Nigerian individuals.
In recent weeks, 13 Nigerian nationals have been arrested for attempting to enter Seychelles with drugs.
Financial fraud has also been a concern, with reports of Nigerians using false credit cards at tourist establishments.
In one case, 62 Nigerians allegedly used fraudulent credit cards, causing financial losses to the establishments.
Additionally, Seychelles has witnessed online scams originating from Nigeria, prompting the government to take a decisive stance against such criminal activities.
Sylvestre Radegonde, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism in Seychelles is scheduled to meet with the Nigerian ambassador.
The meeting will aim to address the issue and discuss potential measures to mitigate the concerns raised. Also, the discussions will aim to find a balance between maintaining a positive relationship with Nigeria. And also safeguarding the security and economic interests of Seychelles.
It is worth noting that the ban comes despite a previously established visa-free agreement between Seychelles and Nigeria. The pact allowed Nigerian citizens to enter the country without a visa for up to 30 days.
The government’s decision underscores the priority given to border control and the protection of Seychelles’ economy.
The temporary ban on Nigerian passport holders for tourism purposes does not affect the recently signed pact between Seychelles and Nigeria. The pact enables direct flights between the two countries. The agreement, aimed at promoting the African Union agenda and enhancing business and tourism opportunities, remains in place.
As Seychelles takes measures to address security concerns. It is expected that the government will closely monitor the situation and reevaluate the ban once the necessary safeguards are in place.