The federal government has vowed to begin the execution of the principle of reciprocity in international relations, especially its visa-on-arrival policy.
Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, minister of Interior, speaking at a news conference in Abuja, said Nigeria could not be offering visas on a platter to nationals of some countries coming to the country to make money. Yet, such countries would not reciprocate the gesture to Nigeria’s travelling public who go to such countries to spend their money.
The minister informed that a committee has been set up, and headed by Oluwatoyin Akinlade, permanent secretary in the ministry, to come up with a report on how best to implement the strategy.
“Nigeria is not a thrash; we cannot be treated as such. Visa is based on reciprocity anywhere in the world, and that is why we are seriously looking at our visa-on-arrival policy. There is no point allowing someone to enjoy that when he gets to Nigeria, and we don’t enjoy that when we go there”, the minister said.
“The committee has about two weeks to submit its report. Once we enforce this principle of reciprocity, people will call us to talk to because most of these people who come to Nigeria come to make money and yet we go to their own countries to spend money. Yet, they make it difficult for Nigerians. We are working with the Ministry of foreign affairs on this”, he added.
As part of his passport reforms, the minister has engaged service providers of the ministry to establish more Passport Front Offices according to earlier contractual agreements.
“Somebody cannot leave in Akoko, and he needs to travel to Akure just for the sake of biometrics. The cost of travelling, the risk of life and the inconveniences. These are the issues we are trying to tackle.
“So, the passport front offices and our foreign missions, people travel from an extreme part of Canada with their young children and the elderly and must fly or travel by road to our mission to get passports. So, from next year, we will activate the passport front offices. We are giving our service providers a standing instruction. That you have a contract does not mean you will hold Nigerians down.
“So, we are giving them three months to activate their contracts, after which we will revoke the contracts if they do not deliver to Nigerians. They should put their houses in order and give Nigerians a sweet experience. We are friends to the extent that you defend the nation’s interest. We have told them that”, he said.