Increasing Drug Trafficking: Seychelles tightens border procedures on Nigerian tourists

Nigerians seeking to enter Seychelles as tourists will undergo more strict screening at the border as the country has announced strengthened border controls in the processing of applications for Nigerian passport holders.

The News Agency reports on Friday that the decision by Seychelles was due to an upsurge in drug trafficking and fraudulent activities by some Nigerian passport holders.

The news agency reported that Seychelles Vice President, Ahmed Afif told reporters on Thursday that Nigerians with diplomatic passports and active work or residency licences issued by the island nation will be permitted entry.

“For the others, the government will keep its eyes open and SEBS (Seychelles Electronic Border System) will analyse much more to find out what reasons they are coming example someone who is coming for a holiday for only one day. We have to ask questions because it is strange and we have seen that happening,” Afif said.

He added that there were many instances where many Nigerians said they were coming for holidays but only for one or two days.

Afif said, “When we checked the payments made for them to come to Seychelles, it is from only one source. This is for different people coming on different days which shows an organised syndicate.”

He said that in recent months, particularly, the administration has seen “a tendency that we have deemed as dangerous for our border control and economy, due to criminal activities happening in the country.”

The Vice President said “We have seen a clear link between this with certain people from Nigeria. In the past two weeks, for example, 13 people coming from Nigeria have been arrested when entering Seychelles because they were carrying drugs into the country.

“In one case, 62 Nigerians who said they were on holiday used false credit cards and the money was never credited to the accounts of these establishments. These establishments have lost money. These people spent free holidays in the country at the expense of the establishment owners and there is nothing that can be done for them.

“There are other online scams originating from Nigeria. We have seen that these people are also coming to Seychelles and doing those scams. We do not have a problem with Nigeria or its people though we do not tolerate such criminal activities in our country.”

Social media discussions concerning a purported prohibition on Nigerian passport holders travelling to Seychelles began last Saturday when a Twitter user posted a screenshot of a Seychelles Electr,onic Border System message that seemed to be an entry application that had been denied.

“We regret to inform you that your application has been denied, as per immigration regulation, for now, we are not accepting any Nigerian passport holder for holiday purposes,” read the screenshot.

Afif noted the lack of communication regarding the government’s response, stating that “it should be noted that the information that was circulated was not official, coming from a system, and it was done in a non-coordinated manner.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, is set to meet with the Nigerian ambassador for Seychelles to discuss the matter.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is trying to figure out how to hand over to the appropriate Nigerian authorities any Nigerians who have been convicted there.


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