Drug Trafficking: Seychelles May Ban Nigerian Tourists
The government of Seychelles has explained why it’s banning Nigerian passport holders who want to visit the country for holiday purposes
Prior to the ban, Nigeria enjoyed a long standing visa-free agreement with Seychelles, allowing citizens to enter the country without a visa for up to 30 days
According to Seychelles News Agency, Ahmed Afif, the country’s vice-president, explained that the ban was because of an increase in drug trafficking and fraudulent activities by Nigerians.
He, however, said Nigerians with diplomatic passports, valid work or resident permits issued by the island nation, would be allowed to visit.
*”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”, he was quoted as saying.
He said there were several 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,” he said.
He explained that in the past year, especially the past few months, the government had 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,” he said.
“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.”
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,” Afif said
”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.”
He said 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,” he said*.
”We do not have a problem with Nigeria or its people, though we do not tolerate such criminal activities in our country.”
The news agency reported that Sylvestre Radegonde, the country’s minister of foreign affairs and tourism, is set to meet with the Nigerian ambassador to Seychelles, to discuss the matter.
In December 2022, Nigeria and Seychelles signed a pact that would enable direct flights between both countries.
Hadi Sirika, then minister of aviation, and Anthony Derjacques, the Seychelles’ minister of transport, both agreed that the pact would promote the African Union agenda 2063, while enhancing business and promoting tourism.