The Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Bankole Adeoye, says Nigerians staying in Ethiopia over 14 hours, or transiting to other destinations, need to be wary of carrying monies in excess of $3000, or its equivalent in other currencies.
Adeoye said this is as a result of a longstanding economic policy by the Ethiopian government.
According to him, the policy is being re-enforced, causing Nigerian travellers to lose hundreds of thousands in forex while passing through the country.
He further stated that so far, over 25 Nigerians have had monies and valuables confiscated because of the policy.
Adeoye, who was speaking on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, however, said the Nigerian government is working to help recover confiscated monies but wants Nigerians to be aware of the risk of carrying forex in excess.
He urged Nigerians carrying such monies, to declare them, at the point of entry.
“The job of the embassy, the task before us is to make sure that awareness is created, is greater, is intense and most Nigerians are aware when they come that they need to be cleared on arrival.
“Due to this new push, we are making progress and we have consulted with the Government of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the tax authorities and indeed the Ethiopian Alliance itself.
“So, on Ethiopian Airlines flights, there are now greater awareness and announcement being created. For those who are staying overnight on transits in hotels, we are also making sure that they are fully aware that this is a peculiar law because the standard international threshold is $10,000.
“But we have assured Nigerians that we will continue to protect their interests knowing fully well that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. We have over 25 Nigerians that have been involved.
“It is not only cash in foreign currency. It is also valuables to the tune of thousands and hundreds of thousands of Dollars in all currencies that we know.
“But we are assured by the commitment of the Government of Ethiopia that they will refund where the cases have been thoroughly examined by the tax and revenue authorities.
“In two or three cases, there have been refunds because the circumstances were different, and we hope that that step will continue.
“Since we came, we have raised it with the highest level of authorities and indeed the former Prime Minister did give a go-ahead the refund of some of the seized foreign currencies.”