Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed its planned visa on arrival policy to encourage foreign investment in the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama made the disclosure in Namibia after deliberations with the Namibian Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and other Namibian ministers in Windhoek.
The plan to issue visas on arrival, according to Onyeama, is part of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business policy.
The government also agreed with the Namibian government to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual benefit, not only between Namibia and Nigeria, but with the entire African continent.
Media aide to Onyeama, Sarah Sanda, in a statement made available to Daily Sun in Abuja, said the agreed mechanism for achieving the strengthening of cooperation was through a meeting of the Joint Commission which will be held in 2020.
Speaking after the meeting, Onyeama said both countries addressed recent issues regarding the issuance of visas to Namibians and Nigerians and entry into Namibia for Nigerians and reached very important and concrete agreements in respect of the issues.
He added that any Namibian wishing to obtain a visa to Nigeria can apply and will be considered as was the case in the past.
Onyeama further said once the requirements are met satisfactorily such a person will be issued a visa, with the same process applying to a Nigerian wishing to go to Namibia.
Sanda further disclosed that the meeting agreed that any visa denial or deportation will not be stamped in the holders passport, even as consular meetings will be held quarterly to assess how things are progressing.
“The Foreign Affairs Minister also informed that Nigeria is moving towards a ‘visa on arrival’ regime as part of the policy of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Nigeria, adding that ‘online applications will facilitate that, but it is still a work in progress,’” Sanda said.
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Namibia dates back to March 2, 1990, following the country’s attainment of independence.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, Namibia and Nigeria have enjoyed warm and cordial relations due to the role Nigeria played during Namibia’s liberation struggle with the provision of financial, material and logistical support for the South West Africa People’s Organisation otherwise known as SWAPO.
In recognition of the contributions, Nigeria was recognised as a frontline state despite her geographical location and in 2008, the City of Windhoek renamed the street where the Nigeria High Commission is located to General Murtala Mohammed Avenue.
Nigeria participated in the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) that midwifed Namibia’s independence and at the end of the operation, the Nigeria Police was requested to remain behind and help build the new Namibian police.
Onyeama also noted that Nigeria’s relationship with Namibia had been through the Technical Aid Corps (TAC).
He said TAC was one mechanism through which Nigeria support countries by sending out the brightest young professionals in various fields of medical, educational and other areas depending on the needs of the country for a period of time.
“He further reiterated his belief that the partnership being forged through the Joint Commission can ‘transform the lives of our peoples in the framework of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union (AU) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN,’” Sanda also said.
Onyeama expressed delight over what he described as the rare privilege of speaking with the President of Namibia on phone.
“He was extremely gracious to welcome me and my delegation and expressed solidarity to the people of Nigeria. This again is a testament of the strong bond that exists between our two countries and the huge respect we have for each other,” Onyeama stated.