Federal Government to Revise Visa-On-Arrival Policy, Emphasizing Reciprocity – In a decisive move, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its intention to enforce the principle of reciprocity in its international relations, focusing primarily on the visa-on-arrival policy. The announcement was made by Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior, during a news conference in Abuja.
Mr. Tunji-Ojo highlighted the government’s concerns, noting that while Nigeria has been generous in offering visas to nationals from various countries seeking to conduct business within its borders, the gesture has not been reciprocated. Nigerian citizens frequently face challenges when attempting to enter countries where they plan to expend their funds.
The Minister emphasized, “Nigeria is not a trash; we cannot be treated as such. Visa arrangements are based on reciprocity globally. There’s no justification for nationals from certain countries to enjoy favorable visa policies upon arrival in Nigeria when Nigerians are not accorded the same privilege in those countries.”
To address this imbalance, a committee led by Oluwatoyin Akinlade, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, has been inaugurated. The committee’s mandate is to devise a strategy to enforce this reciprocity principle effectively and is expected to submit its report within two weeks.
Minister Tunji-Ojo further revealed that cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is underway to ensure that the revised visa policy is implemented smoothly. The Minister also mentioned that the impending policy change is integral to broader passport reforms currently being enacted.
As part of these reforms, service providers contracted by the Ministry have been instructed to establish additional Passport Front Offices, in line with previous agreements. This initiative aims to simplify the process for Nigerian citizens applying for passports, reducing travel, cost, and inconvenience associated with biometric data collection.
Service providers have been given a three-month deadline to activate their contracts and commence operations at the new Passport Front Offices. Failure to adhere to this timeline will result in contract termination. The Minister stressed that these measures are designed to improve the overall experience for Nigerians, underscoring the government’s commitment to defending the nation’s interest while fostering positive relations with service providers.
In closing, the Minister urged the contracted service providers to efficiently organize their operations to ensure that Nigerians enjoy a seamless and positive experience in line with the government’s expectations and standards.