FOREIGNERS entering Nigeria under the government’s new visa on arrival policy must have on them a minimum of $200 (N72,000) under the terms of the new arrangement that is due to kick into effect later this month.
Last year, the government announced plans to introduce visa-on-arrival for all visitors coming to Nigeria as part of a new regime to encourage investors under this administration’s ease of doing business in the country policy. With Nigeria’s economy more-or-less wholly dependent on crude oil, the government has repeatedly acknowledged the need for diversification but doing this will require a lot of foreign direct investment.
In October last year, foreign affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama, unveiled the plan and last month, Nigeria Immigration Service comptroller-general Muhammad Babandede promised that the plan would be launched immediately. So far, it has been opposed by the National Assembly as there are question marks about how it could aid terrorism but government ministers intend to proceed with it.
Yesterday, Niyi Akinsiju, the spokesman for the Buhari Media Organisation, sought to allay any fears, pointing out that once the policy takes effect, foreigners will no longer be allowed into Nigeria without having at least $200. Speaking while featuring on a programme on NTA titled Good Morning Nigeria, Mr Akinsiju said there would be an immigration control element to the policy.
He added: “If we are opening up Nigeria to other African countries, it also means we are creating traffic. Entering this country will not be a herculean process. It is a process that is made easy for other citizens to come into Nigeria and you cannot come into Nigeria without holding at least $200.
“What that tells you is that the $200 will get into our economy. You can imagine if you multiply that by a million people over a 12-month period.”
However, Sunday James, a spokesman for the Nigeria Immigration Service, said he was unaware of any provision that states that a foreigner must possess $200 before entering Nigeria. He added: “Is the fellow that spoke an official of immigration?
“We are not aware of any such requirement. He was probably speaking in his own capacity. I will, however, advise that you reach out to the Nigeria Customs Service.”