By Solomon Asowata
As part of measures to ease the processing of foreigners coming the Nigeria, the Immigration Service (NIS) has expanded its Visa-on-Arrival counters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two visa on arrival counters at the “D” and “E” Wings of the airport were expanded following approval by the Comptroller General of the NIS, Mr Mohammed Babandede.
A top official of the NIS told NAN on Tuesday on the condition of anonymity that the move had increased the capacity of the service to process visas for foreigners coming into the country.
The source said : “As you can see, we have expanded our offices at the “D and E ” Wings to accommodate the high number of foreigners arriving the country who have approvals to be issued visas.
“Sometimes, we have two or more international flights arriving simultaneously and the existing counters can not accommodate foreigners requesting for visas.
“We sometimes get up to 150 people per day. During this yuletide, we are having an average of 1,000 foreigners coming through this airport every week.
“It is a part of the Ease of Doing Business Policy of the Federal Government because this will eliminate unnecessary delays in the issuance of visas to foreigners coming into Nigeria,” he said.
According to the source, apart from creating a more conducive environment for travellers, it will also shore up the image of the country in the international community.
The source, however noted that some foreigners were still not conversant with the processes of obtaining their visas on arrival.
“Some of them don’t wait for approval from the Comptroller General before coming to Nigeria. They just make payments but they need to wait for the approval which normally takes about 48 hours.
“So, they need both their payment receipts and approval before we can allow them into the country. The payment is made online and collected by our technical partners because we operate a cashless policy, ” the source noted.
The source disclosed that 278 foreigners have been turned back in the past few months for not having the necessary requirements to be admitted into Nigeria.
According to the source, a foreigner coming to Nigeria should either apply to the Nigerian Embassy or make an application to the NIS for visa on arrival.
NAN reports that the visa on arrival policy by Nigeria began in 2012 with Kenya and a few African countries.
It came into full stream with the introduction of the Ease-of-Doing-Business Policy by Federal Government in May 2017.(NAN)