Nigeria to withhold passports of persons arriving from abroad as airports open

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has issued a revised quarantine protocol for persons arriving Nigeria from Abroad (including returnees/stranded Nigerians).

The revised protocol contained in a circular to all diplomatic, consular and international organisations accredited to Nigeria on the COVID-19 protocols to be observed by passengers arriving Nigeria includes depositing their passports with the Nigeria Immigration Service for two weeks, pending the verification of their COVID-19 status.

According to the revised quarantine protocol which comes into immediate effect, the arrivals are expected to self-isolate for 14 days and to remain in the city/state where the point of entry is located (i.e Lagos or Abuja), throughout the duration of self-quarantine.

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The protocol states further: “If not resident in Lagos, passengers shall make arrangements for accommodation at their own cost. Please note that the federal government will not be responsible for providing accommodation or transportation to the place of abode.

“Passengers will be cleared through the Nigeria Immigration Service System’s Migrant Identification and Data Analysis System and their passports retained until after successful completion of 14 days self-quarantine, except diplomatic passport holders.”


President Muhammadu Buhari and Secretary to the Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha


It said after all the COVID-19 protocols had been followed, instructions would be given to the NIS to release the passports to their owners.

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According to the protocol, alternative arrangements could be made to collect passports via special delivery.

The protocol said persons who are unable to remain in Lagos or Abuja throughout the period of self-quarantine may return to their states of residence only after their samples had been collected and had tested negative for COVID-19, adding, “such persons must also make their full contact details available.”

All persons, whether citizens or foreigners, are to comply with this protocol.

Wole Shadare