Drug trafficking and fraud pushes Seychelles to tighten border controls on Nigerian tourists’ entry

Nigerians with diplomatic passports, valid work or resident permits issued by the island nation will be allowed to enter. (Peters Temiloluwa/Wiki Commons) Photo License: CC BY-SA 4.0 

(Seychelles News Agency) – An increase in drug trafficking and fraudulent activities by Nigerian passport holders have raised concerns at the government level causing Seychelles’ authorities to tighten border control when processing applications for their entry into the country, said a top official on Thursday.  

Vice President Ahmed Afif told reporters that Nigerians with diplomatic passports, valid work or resident permits issued by the island nation will be allowed to enter.

“For the others, the government will keep its eyes open and SEBS (Seychelles Electronic Border System) will analyse much more to find out what reasons they are coming example someone who is coming for a holiday for only one day. We have to ask questions because it is strange and we have seen that happening,” explained Afif.

He added that there were many instances where many Nigerians said they were coming for holidays but only for one or two days.

“When we checked the payments made for them to come to Seychelles, it is from only one source. This is for different people coming on different days which shows an organised syndicate,” said Afif.   

He explained that in the past year, especially the past few months, the  government has observed “a tendency that we have deemed as dangerous for our border control and economy, due to criminal activities happening in the country.”

“We have seen a clear link between this with certain people from Nigeria.  In the past two weeks, for example, 13 people coming from Nigeria have been arrested when entering Seychelles because they were carrying drugs into the country,” said the Vice President.

He added that in the past months, there have been incidents where Nigerians have used false credit cards at tourist establishments.

“In one case, 62 Nigerians who said they were on holiday used false credit cards, and the money was never credited to the accounts of these establishments. These establishments have lost money. These people spent free holidays in the country at the expense of the establishment owners and there is nothing that can be done for them,” Afif said.

He also outlined that there have been other incidents implicating financial institutions and in one case Nigerians were involved in a fraud where £1 million was lost.

“There are other online scams originating from Nigeria. We have seen that these people are also coming to Seychelles and doing those scams. We do not have a problem with Nigeria or its people though we do not tolerate such criminal activities in our country,” said Afif.

Last Saturday, debates started on social media platforms about an alleged ban on Nigerian passport holders entering Seychelles for holiday purposes. This came after a Twitter user shared a screenshot of what appeared to be a rejected entry application from SEBS.

“We regret to inform you that your application has been denied, as per immigration regulation, for now, we are not accepting any Nigerian passport holder for holiday purposes,” read the screenshot.

Speaking on the delay of response from the government, Afif said that there was a lack of communication on the matter and “it should be noted that the information that was circulated was not official, coming from a system and it was done in a non-coordinated manner.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, is set to meet with the Nigerian ambassador for Seychelles to discuss the matter.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, seeks to look at how it can place Nigerians that have been convicted in the island nation in the hands of the relevant Nigerian authorities. 

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