Title: Nigeria Re-evaluates Visa on Arrival Policy in Pursuit of Reciprocity
Nigeria’s federal government is poised to execute a principle of reciprocity in its international relations, particularly concerning its visa on arrival policy. The intent is to ensure that nations benefiting from Nigeria’s open visa policies offer similar concessions to Nigerian travelers.
Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, disclosed this during a briefing in Abuja yesterday. He emphasized the necessity for mutual respect in visa regulations, expressing displeasure over countries that benefit from Nigeria’s visa on arrival policy but fail to offer Nigerians similar privileges.
Highlighting the rationale behind the move, Tunji-Ojo remarked, “Nigeria is not a dumping ground, and we shouldn’t be treated as one. Visas operate on the principle of reciprocity globally. It’s incongruous to extend visa on arrival privileges to nationals of countries who, while profiting from our economy, make it challenging for Nigerians to visit theirs.”
To action these reforms, a committee, chaired by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Oluwatoyin Akinlade, has been formed. Its mandate is to draft a comprehensive report detailing the best strategy to implement these changes. The committee, which includes members like the Director of Joint Services and the NIS Chief, has been given a two-week deadline for the submission of their report.
Tunji-Ojo further commented on the dynamics of international trade and travel: “A significant number of foreigners coming to Nigeria are here for business and profit-making. In contrast, many Nigerians visit these countries for leisure and spend money. If these countries make entry difficult for Nigerians, it’s only fair to reconsider the privileges we extend to their nationals.”
The minister also shed light on internal reforms aimed at streamlining the passport application process. In collaboration with the ministry’s service providers, there are plans to establish more passport front offices. The move is expected to reduce travel and associated risks for locals, particularly those from remote regions like Akoko, who currently have to commute to places like Akure merely for biometrics.
The overarching objective of these reforms, as highlighted by the minister, is to reinforce the principle of mutual respect in international relations and ensure convenience for Nigerian citizens.