NIDCOM Advised Nigerians to be Conversant with Laws of Countries they are Traveling


The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has advised Nigerians to be familiar with the laws of the countries they are visiting. 

The advice was given on Friday at the backdrop of the harrowing experience of a Nigerian medical doctor, Andrew Etsetowaghan at the Geneva Airport for carrying a presentation pointer in his hand luggage.

The Chairman/ CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa told Nigerians travelling through Switzerland to avoid carrying laser pointers as its usage has been ban in that European country.

Etsetowaghan, Chief Party, USAID Funded Accelerating Control of the HIV Epidemic in Nigeria, (ACE) C4 Project, narrating his ordeal at the airport in Geneva, said he was delayed at the airport for three hours because of laser pointer.

He said the use of laser pointer was ban in June 2019. The aim is to prevent people being injured or dazzled in a hazardous way by the beam from dangerous laser pointers. 

The laser pointers is a hand-held laser that can be used to point to things, for amusement (as a toy or in hobbies) to scare off animals or to drive away other people.

Most times it is used to deliver lecture where slide is used.  The most used laser pointer is the one carrying markings

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO NiDCOM,  noted that many immigrants might be unaware of this regulation and urged Nigerian travelers to exercise caution to avoid similar incidents.

Etsetowaghan, a public health expert and Project Director at the Centre for Clinical Care and Clinical Research Nigeria, was detained on May 25, 2024, after attending a United States Department meeting in Geneva. 

Etsetowaghan , who was part of an official delegation ,recounted his ordeal: “Upon going through security at Geneva Airport, I was informed that my presentation pointer was not allowed in Switzerland. 

He said he never knew of the law before leaving Nigeria and all through his short visit to Switzerland.

He said there was no notification even at the Geneva airport to warn travellers until he was called aside by the immigration and later joined by the police. 

He said he was taken to cell for hours and it became a to and frot and was made to sign some documents in French even when he did not know what the contents are.

The Chief Party, who was worried not to miss his flight, said he was told bluntly that he would not be flying that day. 

“I was detained, had my belongings and documents seized, and was subjected to several hours of interrogation and solitary confinement in a cell. 

“Despite my compliance, the treatment I received was inhumane, including limited access to bathroom facilities and being forced to sign documents in French under duress.”

He called for measures to prevent such incidents in the future. 

He called for a review of the procedures and better awareness of the banned items to ensure travelers are well-informed.

Reacting to the incident, NiDCOM emphasized the importance of raising awareness about such prohibited items in Switzerland Airports and urged Swiss authorities to enhance theircommunication on such regulations, describing Dr Etsetowaghan ordeal as “ avoidable “

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