Nigeria: post-pandemic and beyond

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Kunle Obebe
Bloomfield, Lagos

The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 in Nigeria issued a quarantine protocol for travellers arriving in Nigeria from any country. This quarantine protocol measure highlights three major stages, which are:

  • pre-departure/on board;
  • on arrival in Nigeria; and
  • exit from isolation.

For pre-departure, all passengers are expected to take a PCR test within 72 hours of their flight. Passengers arriving in Nigeria must have tested negative for Covid-19 pre-boarding. There is a compulsory seven-day quarantine period upon arrival, after which the expatriate will be required to undergo another Covid-19 test before reintegration into the society.

Another change has been automation of the Temporary Work Permit (TWP) application process through the e-visa platform. By this new directive, companies are now required to submit their applications online through the company’s official email address to the Comptroller General of Immigration of the Nigerian Immigration Service(NIS)for processing. In addition to the automation of all TWP applications, the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB)also requires that all TWP applications now be uploaded on the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content (NOGIC)Joint Qualification System (JQS)online portal. The NCDMB requirement is applicable to expatriates who are required to work temporarily in Nigeria under companies in the oil and gas sector.

The Nigerian government has also temporarily banned Emirates airline from operating in the country due to the airline’s Covid-19 policy.

There is no directive to indicate that any of these changes will become permanent in Nigeria at the moment. However, in developed countries, we have seen certain border restrictions and entry protocol struggles being relaxed for citizens who have received the vaccines.

On the other hand, the automation of the TWP application process by the NIS and the requirement to upload all documents for TWP and expatriate quota applications by the NCDMB on the NOGIS JQS portal is a permanent change. It is one of the country’s methods of promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

With regards to the ban on the Emirates airline, the airline is in discussions with the Nigerian authorities on how this issue of the ban can be resolved in order to allow the continuation of their flight operations.

The Nigerian government already has precedents for vaccination certificates. An example is the yellow fever vaccination certificate, which is a compulsory entry requirement into the country for all travellers aged nine months and above.

According to the World Health Organization, as of 18 February 2021, seven different vaccines across three platforms have been manufactured in various countries. With the many vaccines that have been developed to help provide immunity against the Covid-19 virus, it is possible that the authorities will relax the major quarantine protocol measures for pre-departure/on board, on arrival in Nigeria, and exit from isolation if a traveller can show proof of being vaccinated.

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