Concise Nigeria Opinion

Senate Invites Aregbesola, Immigration Boss Over Visa On Arrival Policy

Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbosola and NIS Boss, Muhammed Babandede

Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbosola has been summoned by the Senate alongside the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammed Babandede, to appear before it.

Concise News understands that both were summoned to brief the lawmakers on the latest visa on arrival policy of the Federal Government.

This was sequel to a point of order raised by the Senator representing Ekiti North Senatorial district, Olubunmi Adetunmbi.

He had drawn the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the executive did not carry the legislature along before the implementation of the policy.

Concise News reports that President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aswan Forum in Egypt last week Wednesday announced that people holding African passports can now apply for a visa upon arrival in Nigeria.

“We in Nigeria have already taken the strategic decision to bring down barriers that have hindered the free movement of our people within the continent by introducing the issuance of visa at the point of entry into Nigeria to all persons holding passports of African countries with effect from January 2020.

“We should furthermore promote free trade within and amongst Africa and Africans especially now that we have launched the African Free Trade Area Agreement,” he said.

Before Buhari made the recent announcement in Egypt, Nigeria had a visa-on-arrival policy for “frequently high net worth investors and intending visitors who may not be able to obtain visa at the Nigerian Missions/Embassies in their countries of residence due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in those countries or exigencies of urgent business travels,” according to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

However, the new visa-on-arrival policy, which is set to kick off in January 2020, appears to further expand the class of people who can come into the country with less restrictions.

It favours Africans with a valid passport who wish to come into the country for a short visit, for purposes such as tourism, and grants them legal stay for up to 90 days.

Speaking on the new policy, NIS boss Babandede said the visa is only valid for people visiting, not for those who want residency or employment.

Babandede said President Buhari had given approval for the new visa regime a long time and directed the NIS to consult with stakeholders, operate the process in a transparent manner and ensure it does not compromise national security.

Babandede asserted that the NIS had followed the President’s orders, noting that the new policy had been extensively discussed at its retreat in Benin-city and that it has consulted with stakeholders, including security agencies, the hospitality industry and civil society.

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