The federal government has commenced a new sanction regime against visitors who ‘overstay’ in the country without the necessary approval.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that several foreigners, especially those from China, Malaysia and Indonesia, have already been sanctioned by the government for violating such immigration rules in the country.
The sanction, which depends on the number of days of overstay in the country, ranges from $200 (N72, 000) to $4000 (N1. 4m).
A document signed by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Interior, indicates that a foreigner would be adjudged to have overstayed in the country once such exceed 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 intends 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.
While a non-EWCOWAS 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 naira equivalent.
Also, any non-ECOWAS visitor who overstays in the country without authorisation or regularisation would, in addition, pay penalty equivalent of $4000.
At the international airports nationwide, a source close to the ministry told LEADERSHIP, that the government gave the services to a private firm, CONTEC Services, which collects the charges on behalf of the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS).
The ministry source, however, denied that immigration officers at any of the entry points in the country, collects such fees from erring visitor, but reiterated that the government would continue to monitor activities of foreigners in the country especially in this era of global terrorism.
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