NiDCOM warns Nigerians against travelling with laser pointers to Switzerland

 The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has cautioned citizens against travelling with laser pointers to Switzerland, urging them to be aware of local laws.


Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairman and  chief executive officer (CEO) of  NiDCOM, gave the advisory in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu, media, public relations and protocols unit, on June 7.


Dabiri-Erewa’s warning follows a recent detention of Andrew Etsetowaghan at Geneva Airport for carrying a presentation pointer in his hand luggage after the pointers had been banned in Switzerland since June 1, 2019.


Dabiri-Erewa said Andrew was not aware of the policy.


A laser pointer 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.


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,” the statement quoted him as saying.


“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.”


Etsetowaghan urged for “measures to prevent such incidents in the future, a review of the procedures and better awareness of the banned items to ensure travelers are well-informed”.


Responding to the incident, Dabiri-Erewa, stressed on the importance of raising awareness about such prohibited items in Switzerland Airports.


She urged the Swiss authorities to enhance their communication on such regulations, describing Etsetowaghan’s ordeal as “avoidable”.


The NiDCOM boss also said many immigrants might be unaware of this regulation.


She asked all Nigerian travelers to exercise caution to avoid similar incidents.


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