Revealed Stranded Athletes Could Not Pay For Visa On Arrival At Lagos Airport
Indication has emerged that some of the athletes from Kenya, Burundi and other African countries on arrival in Nigeria could not pay for their Visas on Arrival.
The revelation is coming following insinuations in some quarters that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos Command caused the unnecessary delay
Abelnewsng.com learnt that the Local Organising Committee (LOC) was supposed to make arrangements for their easy passage into Nigeria through online visa payment before their arrival, but failed to do this, a situation which led to their delay at the Lagos Airport.
A source close to NIS in Abuja revealed today that a lot of the athletes should have processed their Visas online and make payments before arriving Nigeria, but that they failed to do so,
The source added that the Command did not seize any of the athletes’ passports as been speculated but only collected them for issuance of sticker Visas on their passports, which was necessary for them to enter the country.
AbelNewsng.com also learnt that NIS technical partner; New Works had to issue each and every one of the athletes ID and reference numbers, which is always cumbersome because of internet connectivity.
The source stated that NIS at Lagos Airport was not responsible for the delay on arrival of the athletes to Asaba, Delta State, adding that NIS officials carried out their duties professionally as expected from them.
“A lot of them came in at once and none of them could pay for visa on arrival, which is a policy of the Federal Government. As you know, we don’t collect cash at immigration any longer. The local organising committee was not able to make the payment because it did not make enough preparation towards their arrival into Nigeria. They all came at once and New Works, which is our technical partner had to generate ID and reference number for each and every one of them to make the payment easier.
“But, as they were not able to generate the payment, instead of delaying them and keep them at the airport until when the payment is done, we collected their passports so that when the payment is done, we put the visas and stickers on their passports and return it to the organising committee. We allowed them to come in, but collected their passports for sticker visas because if their passports were with them, there was no way we would have put the Visas on their individual passports,” the source said
Recalled that Visa on Arrival policy by Nigeria commenced in 2012 with some countries, but came into full stream in 2017 with the Ease-of-Doing-Business policy of Federal Government, which was introduced in 2017.
With the new policy, the era of NIS officers collecting cash payment from foreign tourists or travellers coming into the country came to an end. Payments are now made online for prospective travelers into Nigeria.
This policy had ease the rigours experienced by travellers coming into Nigeria had also increased the number of tourists into the country by 30 per cent in the first half of 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017.
The athletes from various African countries had converged in Nigeria for the 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship currently going on in Asaba, Delta State.