A senior official said that concerns have been raised at the government level in Seychelles due to an increase in drug trafficking and fraudulent activities carried out by Nigerian passport holders.
Recall that the occupant of the government house in Abuja, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is currently being dragged to court over his involvement in heroin trafficking that led him to forfeit $460,000 to the United States in 1993.
Reacting to the Visa ban, the Seychelles authorities have decided to strengthen and tighten border control measures when processing entry applications into the country.
Vice President Ahmed Afif informed reporters that individuals with Nigerian diplomatic passports, valid work permits, or resident permits issued by Seychelles will still be permitted entry.
However, for other Nigerian passport holders, thorough scrutiny will be conducted through the Seychelles Electronic Border System (SEBS) to ascertain the purpose of their visit.
Afif emphasized the need to question individuals who claim to be visiting for very short periods, such as a one-day holiday, as such circumstances are considered suspicious.
He explained that there have been instances where numerous Nigerians stated they were visiting for leisure purposes but only stayed for one or two days. Further investigation revealed that the payments for their trips originated from a single source, indicating an organized syndicate behind these activities.
The Vice President noted a concerning trend of criminal activities in Seychelles, particularly involving Nigerian individuals. Over the past year, and particularly in recent months, the government has observed a clear link between these activities and certain Nigerians. Afif disclosed that in the last two weeks alone, 13 Nigerian individuals were arrested upon entry to Seychelles for attempting to smuggle drugs into the country.
Also, incidents have occurred where Nigerian visitors used fraudulent credit cards at tourist establishments. One case involved 62 Nigerians claiming to be on vacation, who used false credit cards, resulting in financial losses for the establishments.
Furthermore, there have been cases of financial fraud, including a £1 million loss attributed to Nigerian involvement.
While acknowledging that not all Nigerians are involved in criminal activities, Afif stressed that Seychelles does not tolerate such behavior within its borders. He clarified that the aim is to address the growing concerns about criminal activities originating from Nigeria and impacting the country’s border control and economy.
Debates arose on social media platforms last Saturday when a screenshot of an alleged rejected entry application from SEBS circulated, suggesting a ban on Nigerian passport holders for holiday purposes.
However, Afif clarified that the information was not official and lacked coordination.
He acknowledged the lack of communication on the matter and stated that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, is scheduled to meet with the Nigerian ambassador for Seychelles to discuss the issue.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is exploring ways to transfer convicted Nigerians within its jurisdiction to the relevant Nigerian authorities.