FG cautions travellers against carrying laser pointers after Switzerland detained Nigerian at Airport

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM) chairman, Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has cautioned Nigerian citizens travelling through Switzerland regarding the possession of laser pointers at their airports.

The NiDCOM chairman, Dabiri-Erewa, made this known in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu, the spokesperson, on Friday, noting that many immigrants might be unaware of the regulation and urging Nigerian travellers to exercise caution to avoid similar incidents.

The statement read in part; “The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has cautioned Nigerian citizens travelling through Switzerland regarding the possession of laser pointers at their airports.

“Dr. 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.

“Dr. 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.

“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.

“Dr. Etsetowaghan urged 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 Swiss Airports and urged Swiss authorities to enhance their communication on such regulations, describing the situation as ” avoidable ”

Switzerland had banned selling, distributing, importing, or giving away laser pointers above Class 1, as of June 1, 2019.

As of June 2019, this is the most restrictive laser pointer law of any major country; Class 2 pointers (up to 1 milliwatt) are legal in most countries, and Class 3R pointers (up to 5 milliwatts) are legal in the U.S.

Travelers were told to note that laser pointers and “hybrid devices” above Class 1 that are being transported into or through Switzerland can be confiscated before entering Swiss borders. For example, a wireless mouse used for PowerPoint presentations, such as the one shown below, could be confiscated if it contains a laser above Class 1.

The aim is said to be to prevent people from being injured or dazzled in a hazardous way by the beam from dangerous laser pointers.

The 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.

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

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