The federal government announced that henceforth, the nation will issue visas to visitors from abroad based on the reciprocity principle.
By doing this, the government said that it would handle foreigners applying for Nigerian visas in the same manner as Nigerians in other nations.
In order to control immigration and outflow and guarantee national security, it also intended to impose stricter surveillance measures at the nation’s frontiers.
This was said by Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Nigeria’s Interior Minister, at the BusinessDay Conference, themed “Funding for Change: Building Bridges for a Resilient Nigeria” and the title “Nigeria Forward: Catalysing Funding for High Impact Social Projects.”
The minister declared that the days of giving international visitors a free pass when applying for visas were gone, and the federal government would start operating under the give-and-take model.
Speaking as the keynote speaker on the subject of “Ministry of Interior’s potential high impact social projects,” Tunji-Ojo stated that he found the topic particularly significant as it addressed vulnerability and the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
“The credibility of performance of every government has to be based only on the evaluation of how the government handles the weakest in the society. The essence of government is not just to protect the strong but to make up and amplify the needs of the weak.” He said.
“I always said this, my father didn’t give me the Nigeria of my dream. Yes, but that is not an excuse for me not to give my children the Nigeria of their dreams.
“It means the responsibility of transition from where we are to where we want to be cannot forever be laid at the doorsteps of yesteryears; it has to be laid on our own doorstep.”
Regarding the reciprocity principle, he stated, “Wednesday, the director of the Centre for Illegal Migration in Turkey, came to my office. And I told him that in the next couple of weeks, expect reciprocity in terms of travel policy.
“Any country that does not give me the visa on arrival cannot have a visa on arrival in Nigeria. I’m sorry, but it is the truth. We’re not a dumping ground. If you say you are helpful, people will see you as valid.
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“But if you tell people you are useless, people will tell you why you are this useless. We want to partner with you, and so on the table, we must be partners, equal partners, and our investment relationship must be based on the principle of reciprocity.
“So we are doing that to all the countries in the world. The committee is working. I will receive the report tomorrow. You charge me $100 for a visa, and I will charge you $100 for a Nigerian visa.
“If you give me a visa on arrival, I will give it to you. If you say the condition for me to enter your country today is that I must have an American visa, Schengen visa, UK visa etc, you will have the same conditions to enter my country. It is not a fight. It is about the issue of mutual respect.
“My job is interior security and not external. So let’s call a spade a spade. We must change our perception. Perception is everything in life. Perception is your reputation, if people have a wrong perception about you, they will have a negative interpretation about who you are.
“So, for us, we’ve been doing that. I told them yesterday that you have stopped issuing to Nigerians with Schengen visas, America visas, etc. Please tell your people to change it because the issue of visa reciprocity is my own. The way you respond to us is how we will respond to you, so you know we are all partners in quality.”
“If they don’t know I say this, this is the biggest economy in Africa. And you see the kind of assets Ghana has, South Africa has, even Seychelles, we don’t have. No, I’m not asking any country to open their gates to all 220 million Nigerians! That’s impossible. But at least we have to have a meeting point based on mutual respect,” he explained.