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FG begins sanction of unapproved foreigners

The Federal Government has commenced a new sanction regime against visitors who overstay in the country without the necessary approvals.

This is in a bid to monitor movements of foreigners in Nigeria.

The sanction, which depends on the number of days such a foreigner overstays in the country, ranges from $200 (N72,000) to $4000 (N1.8m).

A document signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and made available to our correspondent, shown that a foreigner will be adjudged to have overstayed in the country once such exceeded 56 days.

However, the sanction does not apply to citizens of Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS) who can enter Nigeria and reside in the country without entry visas.

The document, which was obtained from the Ministry, indicated that a non-ECOWAS visitor who intended to stay in Nigeria for a period exceeding 56 days, but not beyond 90 days aggregate would be sanctioned with a few of $200 or the naira equivalent.

For a non-ECOWAS visitor who stays in Nigeria beyond 90 days, but not exceeding 180 days aggregate would be sanctioned with the sum of $1000 or its naira equivalent.

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

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

Investigation by our correspondent also revealed that several foreigners especially from China, Malaysia and Indonesia had been sanctioned by the government for violating the orders.

According to investigation at international airports,  government has given the services to a private firm collects the charges on behalf of the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS).

Rather than such affected foreigner to pay the sum to immigration officers, the concessionaire sanctions such visitor with the sums, depending on the offence while a receipt or teller is issued to immigration services for record purposes.

Nosa Aituamen

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