FG announces sanctions against foreigners who overstay without necessary approval

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*Comptroller general of NIS, Mr. Mohammed Babandede

The federal government has come up with a regime of sanctions against foreigners who overstay in Nigeria without the necessary approval.

The sanction, which depends on the number of days such a foreigner overstays in ranges from $200 (N72, 000) to $4000 (N1.4m).

A document signed by the permanent secretary, ministry of interior states that a foreigner outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), would be adjudged to have overstayed in the country at the expiration of 56 days.

Citizens of ECOWAS can come into Nigeria and reside in the country without entry visas.

According to the document, non-ECOWAS visitors who intend to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 56 days but not beyond 90 days aggregate would pay $200 or the naira equivalent as penalty.

A non-EWCOWAS visitor who stays in Nigeria beyond 90 days but not exceeding 180 days aggregate would pay a penalty of $1000 (N360, 000).

Besides, any non-ECOWAS visitor who intends to stay in Nigeria or who stayed for a period exceeding 180 days, but not beyond 365 days aggregate in the country would pay to the government the sum of $2000 (N720, 000).

Also, any non-ECOWAS visitor who overstays in the country without authorization or regularization would in addition pay penalty equivalent of $4000 (N1.4 million).

However, it was gathered that several foreigners especially from China, Malaysia and Indonesia had been sanctioned by the government for violating the orders.

At the international airports nationwide, it was gathered that CONTEC Services was collecting the charges on behalf of the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS).

It was gathered that rather than such affected foreigner to pay the sum to immigration officers, the concessionaire, CONTEC, sanctioned such visitor with the sums, depending on the offence while a receipt or teller is issued to immigration services for record purposes.

“The federal government had to introduce this new regime in order to checkmate foreigners who abuse visas granted them by the government. It was discovered that some of them intentionally overstayed in Nigeria without regularizing their papers. This, the government will not agree with and will do everything to stop such abuse.

“However, in order to prevent corruption or leakages in the system, the government gave the concession to a firm, CONTEC Services, which liaises with officials of immigration service at various points for the remittance of the fee. The concessionaire issues a sanction ticket, which the visitor pays to a particular bank,” said an immigration source.

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