The visa application crisis

Started by MyWorld, Sep 05, 2009, 09:36 PM


It is enheartening that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has seen the need to engage some of the foreign embassies in Nigeria in discussions over the difficulties our citizens continue to face procuring visa to respective countries notably the United States, China, and the EU countries. The 'Mutual Collaborative Partnership on Consular Problems' is conceived as a series of meetings to ease the process of granting visa to intending travellers as well as address the humiliation that Nigerians are generally subjected to at these embassies.

It is about time that this step was taken for, there appears to be a case of 'country profiling' going on. The suffering - and this is no exaggeration - that many foreign missions put Nigerian visa applicants through is a long running story that is almost stale now. Whereas it used to be the lot of the 'people to queue up, rain or shine, in front of the embassies at 4 a.m. to keep an 8 a.m. interview appointment, whereas only the very ordinary Nigerians were required to physically present themselves to process their visa applications - including the mere collection of own passport. Now, top government officials, well-known businessmen, senior citizens of our country, indeed every Nigerian is now expected, in addition to the exorbitant charges payable, to, so to speak, 'come swallow some pill of humiliation' in exchange for wanting to visit some of the countries engaged in this ignoble treatment of citizens of their host countries. Important national assignments abroad have suffered delay or cancellation because one embassy or the other refused to grant entry visa to the applicants.

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