Nigeria counters AU, says no plans to issue visas on arrival

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Information minister, Lai Mohammed is an ally of Toyin Subair PAYG BBNaija
Information minister, Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture says Nigeria will not issue visas on arrival
lai moha

Nigeria’s government says it has no plans to start issuing visas on arrival for all Africans contrary to the position expressed by the African Union, AU.

The African Union’s political affairs office had tweeted on Friday that Nigeria announced the plan at a retreat for permanent representatives to the continental body.

Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed told The Associated Press on Sunday: “It is not true that we have any such plans.”

Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of the continent, according to AU figures, and officials say that hurts trade.

The AU has advocated for a single African passport and for abolishing visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.

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Ghana, Rwanda, Mauritius and the Seychelles already issue visas on arrival to all African passport holders.

AU’s deputy chairman Kwesi Quartey had on 14 October praised Nigeria’s action as a “laudable move towards Africa’s integration agenda” in a Facebook post.

The AU has advocated for a “single African passport” that aims to improve intra-African trade and has called for “the abolishment of visa requirements for all African citizens in all African countries by 2018.”

A spokeswoman for the AU chairperson, Ebba Kalondo, told The Associated Press they were waiting for details from Nigeria at the time, as the news was “announced verbally with no formal communication.”

Africans need visas to travel to 55 percent of the continent, according to AU figures.

According to the African Development Bank’s 2017 Africa Visa Openness Report, Africans can get a visa on arrival in just 24 percent of other African countries, while North Americans, for example, have easier travel access on the continent.

“Free movement on the continent would entail the implementation of continent-wide visa-free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans,” the AU suggested in February.