FG clarifies visa-on arrival policy for Africans visiting Nigeria/

The federal government has explained its earlier stance that all Africans visiting the country would get visa on Africa as from January 2020.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last year announced the visa on arrival policy for all Africans visiting Nigeria, explaining the move was to promote free movement across the country. 

The president's declaration had been greeted with backlash, with many stating such would further compound the insecurity situation in the country. 

But Speaking during an interview aired on National Television Authority (NTA), Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, stated the policy would not apply to all visa classes.

He said: “The difference now is that we will give you that visa at the point of entry. People made a lot of unnecessary propaganda saying Mr President said visa-free. There was nothing like that.

“He said the government of Nigeria has liberalised visa for Africans to be issued at the point of entry. So the difference is that instead of going to the embassy to get a visa, you will pick up at the point of entry and in our administrative strategy, we said you will only pick up at airports, no land border for now.

“And it is not every visa you will pick at the airport, we said only short-visit visa. You can’t say you want to pick resident permit and you pick your bag from another country to enter Nigeria.

“In the olden days, we only issued rubber-stamp visa; ink and rubber-stamp. Later we went to vignette but this visa we are issuing at the point of entry is a biometric visa. We’ll take your fingerprint and picture.

“We just installed a clearance system at the airport called MIDAS. MIDAS is a system that does not allow border entry until we take your biometric.

“So we want to assure Nigerians that it is not every African that will collect the visa at the point of entry, only those who are coming for business and a short visit.

“If you are coming for employment, you will pick it up at the embassy and when we give you a short time, we now have a mechanism that can monitor when the time expires.”