BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Nigerians holding the ECOWAS Travel Certificates and going for the Africa Cup of Nations next month are certain to be turned back from entering Cote d’Ivoire.
Those holding travelling passports also have to ensure that their document still have up to six-month validity period as at January 2024 when the Africa Cup of Nation kicks off in Cote d’Ivoire.
Ordinarily, Nigerians, as ECOWAS citizens do not need visa to enter Cote d’Ivoire where ECOWAS was born in 1975, but they still need travel document.
In a chat with Robert Akpenpuun, an immigration officer and former protocol officer of the NFF who is now an Immigration Attaché at the Nigerian Embassy in Cote d’Ivoire, the normal ECOWAS Travel Certificate which most Nigerian travelers carry when they travel along West Africa is not acceptable in Cote d’Ivoire.
According to him, the document is honoured in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana, the road route most Nigerians will take while going to Cote d’Ivoire.
But they are certain to be denied entry into Cote d’Ivoire. Sports Village Square gathered that the travel certificate is not honoured by the Ivorian immigration officers as it is not biometric.
Akpenpuun informed that the two acceptable travel document into Cote d’Ivoire are the E-Passport and the newly introduced Enhanced E- Passport which is being issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service offices in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers , Kano and the FCT. Both are running concurrently.
In addition to the E- Passport, Akpenpumm whose offices in Abidjan are overlooking the famous Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium, venue of Nigeria’s last group match, also advised Nigerians to ensure that they carry their yellow vaccination card which must be up to date.
The yellow card is compulsory for entry into Cote d’Ivoire, Akpenpuun remarked. He pointed our that the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan is currently documenting ways to ensure that the Nigerian team and Nigerians have a good time during the Africa Cup of Nations.
He said that the acting Nigerian ambassador will document and pass the advisory to the Nigeria Football Federation.