Seychelles tightens border controls on Nigerians amid concerns of drug trafficking and fraud
Seychelles authorities have announced stricter border control measures for Nigerian tourists due to increasing concerns over drug trafficking and fraudulent activities by Nigerian passport holders.
Vice President Ahmed Afif addressed the issue on Thursday, stating that only Nigerians with diplomatic passports or valid work and resident permits issued by Seychelles will be allowed entry.
"For others, the government will keep a close eye, and the Seychelles Electronic Border System (SEBS) will conduct more thorough analysis to determine the reasons for their visit. For example, if someone claims to be coming for a one-day holiday, we have to ask questions because it raises suspicion," explained Vice President Afif.
He highlighted instances where Nigerians claimed to be visiting for holidays but only stayed for one or two days. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the payments for their trips came from a single source, indicating the presence of an organized syndicate.
Over the past year, and particularly in recent months, Seychelles has observed a concerning trend related to criminal activities involving certain individuals from Nigeria. Vice President Afif revealed that in the past two weeks alone, 13 Nigerians were arrested upon entering Seychelles for attempting to smuggle drugs into the country.
The Vice President also shared incidents where Nigerians used fraudulent credit cards at tourist establishments. One case involved 62 Nigerians claiming to be on holiday but using false credit cards, resulting in significant financial losses for the establishments. Additionally, financial institutions were targeted in a fraud case where £1 million was lost, and online scams originating from Nigeria have also been detected.
Afif emphasized that Seychelles does not have an issue with Nigeria or its people, but it cannot tolerate criminal activities within its borders. He clarified that the measures implemented are aimed at ensuring border control and safeguarding the country's economy.
Social media debates erupted over the weekend following a screenshot of an alleged rejected entry application from SEBS, stating that Seychelles was not accepting Nigerian passport holders for holiday purposes. Vice President Afif acknowledged the lack of communication on the matter and emphasized that the circulated information was not official or coordinated.
To address the situation, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde is scheduled to meet with the Nigerian ambassador for Seychelles for further discussions. Seychelles aims to explore options for placing convicted Nigerians within its jurisdiction into the hands of the relevant Nigerian authorities.
Seychelles, known for its stunning archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, remains committed to maintaining strong border controls and preserving the integrity of its tourism sector.