…As No Fewer Than 12,000 Foreigners Benefit From Visa On Arrival
Any Nigerian deported for crime, drug or immigration related offences automatically forfeits his international passport to the Federal Government contrary to believe by deportees that they own their passports not minding the crime they have committed AbelNewsng.com can reveal.
This is just as the online medium learnt that no fewer than 12,000 foreigners coming into Nigeria in the last six months to do business or on vacation in the country have benefited from the Visa on Arrival policy of the Federal Government using the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA),Lagos.
Investigation by the online news platform revealed that the challenge of withdrawing the international passports from deportees on arriving in Nigeria is one of the challenges facing the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)at airports across the country, with many deportees holding tight to the document.
A source close to NIS at the Murtala Muhammed Airport(MMA),Lagos to AbelNewsng.com the challenge , the service face when they attend to Nigerians that were deported for crime, drug or immigration related offences is the act of holding tight to their passports.
The source insisted that international passport is the property of the Federal Government and that whenever a Nigerian is deported from Croatia for example; the deportee’s international passport is withdrawn by the government through NIS
“You know, when you are deported. It is a law that your travel documents are relieved of you according to Section 57 of the Immigration Act. Anybody deported for any crime has his/her passport withdrawn. The act states that the passport does not belong to the individual but belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The passport is seized for 2-5years, ” the source said.
On the sanction for airlines that bring in passengers into Nigeria without the right document, the source stated that the carriers are fined $2,000 per passenger.
AbelNewsng.com also learnt that between 500 and 1000 foreign visitors and businessmen are issued Visas on Arrival (VoA) every week subject to the approval of the Comptroller General Immigrations in Abuja.
A highly dependable source at Lagos Airport told the online platform that initially, the Visa on Arrival scheme started in 2012 with Nigeria and Kenya nationals but that in 2017 under the Ease of Doing Business the Federal Government decided to extend the scheme to cover nationals of other countries travelling into Nigeria.
The source added that the policy was targeted at two categories; those coming into the country for business and tourists.
On how Visa on Arrival is issued, the source stated that it is not issued to just anybody who is coming into the country, adding that there are procedures and conditions the arriving passengers must complied with to be issued one.
The VoA policy, the source said has been yielding fruitful results.
Speaking further, the source said, “The visa on arrival is issued from outside the country, it is something you apply for and it goes through a process before approval is given. That is done in Abuja, we here just issue once we see the approval signed by the CG. We at immigration do our homework before we issue the visa to ensure you are not on any criminal or terrorist network or watch list and we ensure that a reputable organisation writes an undertaking that they are responsibility for the invitation.”
On what the requirements are for foreign businessmen and tourists wanting to come into the country, the source said,
A, The applicant must have a letter from the company he wants to do business with in Nigeria taking responsibility,
B, A business permit letter as well as a certificate of incorporation and
C, An airline ticket (return)
The source continued, “Whoever applies, we look for their approval letter, evidence of payment and passport validity which must not be less than six months. And we issue two types of visas business and tourist visas which usually does not exceed a month. ”
The source further disclosed that Nigeria Immigration Service also issue new baby that was born in UK for example Visa on Arrival on arriving the airport in Nigeria to enable the parents get documentation of the child.
The child, the source added automatically becomes a dual citizen.