The Republic of Seychelles, an archipelagic country consisting of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa, has reportedly imposed a ban on Nigerian passport holders applying for short-term visas or holiday purposes, causing protests among Nigerian Twitter users.
The travel ban was confirmed when a travel content creator shared a screenshot of a rejection email received from the Seychelles immigration authorities.
The rejection email shared by Twitter user @Munachimsoooo stated: “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.”
This decision comes as a surprise, given that just six months ago, Nigeria and Seychelles signed an agreement for direct flights between the two countries.
Prior to this ban, Nigerian citizens enjoyed a long-standing visa-free agreement with Seychelles, allowing them to enter the country without a visa for up to 30 days.
This sudden policy change has caught many Nigerians off guard, leading to widespread frustration and disappointment.
It also sparked a larger conversation about the limitations and obstacles faced by Nigerian passport holders when it comes to visa applications and global mobility.
@Munachimsoooo added: “There is something that travel does to you and we won’t let the colour of our passport stop that.
“If one country stops us from coming, there are other countries with similar features for us to visit. If we can’t visit Seychelles, we sure can visit Mauritius”.
However, it appears the ban does not affect other categories of travel or long-term immigration to Seychelles.
While the rejection email did not provide specific reasons for the travel ban, it is speculated that the decision to impose the travel ban may have been driven by various factors, such as concerns over security, immigration control, or a reassessment of bilateral agreements.
Seychelles, a country known for its stunning beaches and vibrant marine life, has been grappling with the scourge of drug-related crimes and abuse within its borders, including trafficking.
The country’s strategic location along drug trafficking routes, combined with its tourism appeal, has made it an attractive destination for illicit drug networks and authorities have been working tirelessly to curb this menace.
There are speculations that the alleged ban imposed by Seychelles was prompted by a growing concern over the involvement of Nigerian nationals in drug-related activities within the country.
According to the President of the Nigerian community in Seychelles, Mathias Adidi, a drug syndicate in Nigeria is using Nigerians to smuggle drugs into Seychelles.
“I am Mathias Adidi, the President of the Nigerian community in Seychelles. Please, help us inform Nigerians. Someone in Nigeria is sending Nigerians to bring drugs to Seychelles. And is not safe they are been arrested every day,” he wrote.
Another Nigerian Steven Ndukwu, who is resident in the country said: “Let me clear the air. The news about Seychelles’ ban on Nigerians hasn’t been officially confirmed yet. I’m still in Seychelles at the moment.
“What triggered this is because of the Nigerians that brought in drugs into their country, but as you know, Seychelles is the number one consumer of heroin in the world and this drug primarily is produced majorly in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon and then trafficked into Seychelles.”
Ndukwu believes the measure is a result of the government’s determination to address a pressing issue and protect its citizens and visitors from the devastating consequences of drug abuse.
Source: The International Centre for Investigative Reporting, The ICIR.