NIGERIA’S high commissioner to the United Kingdom Dr Dalhatu Tafida has called on foreign missions to end the ongoing practice of making money off innocent Nigerians by denying them visas only to ask them only to ask them to apply again and pay a fresh fee.
At the moment, embassies and high commissions in Lagos and Abuja deny many Nigerians travel visas which they are charged for, only for these travelers to be told to reapply. When these Nigerians do reapply, however, they have to pay the application fee again, enabling these missions to generate substantial sums in the process.
Disclosing this when the director-general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Segun Runsewe, paid him a courtesy visit at the Nigerian House in London, Dr Tafida said Nigerians seeking foreign visas are unnecessarily exploited. He added that in contrast, Nigerian visas and passports are delivered within 24 hours after processing applicants’ documents.
Dr Tafida added: “Applicants for visas and passports do not need to know anybody at the high commission before they could be attended to. If you have any friend, who still tells you that it’s very difficult to get a passport or a visa in the Nigeria High Commission here in London, tell him or her that they are telling lies because you can get a visa in 24 hours.
“You can apply today online and we don’t collect their money as such. You can collect your visa if you have to travel that day or the following day, or if you are not bothered, you can collect it within five working days.”
Mr Runsewe commended the high commissioner for rehabilitating the Nigeria House and introducing biometrics for visa and passport applicants. He added that the introduction of biometrics has helped to reduce the pains Nigerians and other foreigners go through while seeking Nigerian visas.
Dr Tafida added: “Anybody who tells you that he applied for visa and has not gotten it, is either telling lies or his papers are not correct. We don’t collect your money and say go you are not qualified, you have to apply again and pay again.”
Mr Runsewe also used the opportunity to solicit for the assistance of the high commissioner with regards to promoting Nigeria as a tourist destination across the UK. He pointed out that Nigeria had the best stand among African countries participating at the ongoing four-day World Travel Market taking place in Excel in London.