Visa on Arrival for Africans
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Ajuri Ngelale - Senior Special Assistant for Public Affairs in the Presidency
James Sunday - Deputy Comptroller of Immigration Service/Public Relations Officer
Visa on arrival for people of other countries visiting Nigeria! That’s the topic for deliberation on Morning Crossfire today. Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadry have two guests to respond to the issues surrounding the visa story as well as many callers who voice their opinion on the matter.
At the introduction of the show Wemimo remarks that on December 11th, at the Aswan Forum in Egypt which was held for sustainable peace and development in Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the new visa policy for Africans.
She also reads the president’s tweet:
Nigeria is committed to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa. Yesterday, at the Aswan Forum in Egypt, I announced that in January 2020, we’ll begin issuance of visa at the point of entry into Nigeria to all persons holding passports of African countries.
Wemimo also quotes the statement of Muhamad Babandede, Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS):
“Nigeria’s strategic decision is taken to bring down barriers that have hindered free movement of our people within the continent by introducing the visa at the point of entry into Nigeria with effect from January 2020."
Question is; how will this affect the Nigerian economy, seeing that the Nigerian borders are still shut? Will it affect national security? Is it even right for the Nigerian President to make such a pivotal announce while in a foreign country?
Ajuri Ngelale speaks from Abuja, saying it is not a new thing for presidents to make these kinds of announcement. But we should also note that Mr. President actually made many announcement inside of Nigeria. “It just makes sense that if you’re in a room with Bloomberg, as well as Nigerian media, and many of these international media; it just makes sense to share that information with those it will impact the most.”
Ajuri also speaks on the bad things that happened on Nigeria’s borders, where illicit trade had been the other of the day for millionaires and billionaires who even brand goods made in Vietnam or in other countries to made in Benin Republic, so that these could come into Nigeria. This, Ajuri says is wrong according to ECOWAS Free Trade Agreement which mandates that goods from countries other those in the free trade range should not enter into the country.
He also claims that now, Nigeria is making so much more money from imports than it has been doing. Customs revenue has gone up from 4.5 billion to 9 billion naira.
James Sunday speaks about the visa on arrival issue. He says Nigeria cannot live in isolation. Is it any African who just showed up at the airport or border that will be considered?
“These ones will go through all the checklist that is needed, including the biometric system. Mr. president has extended the opportunity for all Africans at the point of entry. This is a simplified method of integrating all Africans. We have to trust Africans for the first time.
“With training the issue of influx of foreigners, and other challenges can be fixed.”
However, Ajuri says Nigeria cannot just trust people but everyone coming in will be examined carefully, they must understand what they want to do in this country. Yet, they will be scrutnized by world standards that is able to expose those with criminal records.
"We can't just accept anyone into Nigeria," Ajuri says.
Watch the program below and see how it impacts you