Nigerians have been advised to beware of carrying laser pointers while travelling as some versions are not allowed in some countries.

Infinity Tyres

The Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave this advice recently following the detention of a Nigerian for being in possession of a laser pointer in Switzerland airport.

Dabiri-Erewa gave the warning in a statement issued by the spokesperson of the agency, Gabriel Odu.

She disclosed that many immigrants might be unaware of the regulation and urged Nigerian travellers to exercise caution to avoid similar incidents.

According to the statement, “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,” Etsetowaghan explained.

Etsetowaghan 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 travellers were well-informed.

Reacting to the incident, NiDCOM emphasised the importance of raising awareness about such prohibited items in Switzerland airports and urged Swiss authorities to enhance their communication on such regulations, describing Etsetowaghan’s ordeal 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 was 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.

Travellers were told to note that laser pointers and “hybrid devices” above Class 1 that are being transported into or through Switzerland could be confiscated before entering Swiss borders.

For example, a wireless mouse used for PowerPoint presentations, could be confiscated if it contained a laser above Class 1.

The aim is 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.