The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mrs Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju, has urged airlines operating into the country to accept Nigerians in Diaspora returning to the country with expired passports.
Adepoju said the immigration had issued a directive to airlines but they were being “recalcitrant” about it.
She spoke during the diaspora virtual lecture series with the theme, “New Passport Policy/Processes for Nigerians in the Diaspora Confirmation” organised by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).
She was responding to a Nigerian in Diaspora over the refusal of airlines to board passengers with expired passports despite earlier instruction given to them.
The CGI said many airlines are afraid to board passengers with expired passports because of the extant regulation which placed a $2000 fine on any airline that boards a passenger with expired passport, adding that this only applies to foreigners.
She however advised passengers with expired passports who want to return home to instead apply for a visa on arrival which can be presented to the airlines.
She said, “Nigerians who wish to return home with expired passports can do so provided the airline is willing to cooperate.
“So, what they can do is to apply for an electronic visa; you can apply for a visa on arrival. We will definitely not turn you back if you are coming with an expired passport.”
Speaking on the issue with our correspondent, President of the Association of Foreign Airlines Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), Dr Kingsley Nwokoma, said, “If the airlines are properly briefed and they get a circular from the federal government on this issue, the airlines will make sure that is accepted. So, something is not right somewhere.”
He said the problem is not with the airlines but there must be a circular or a directive from the Ministry of Aviation or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the directive.