Insurgency and visa-on-arrival policy

Boko Haram, ISIS, bandits, kidnapping, yahoo-yahoo boys did not come to Nigeria because of the implementation of visa on arrival policy.

The Nigerian government in March 2020 suspended its visa on arrival policy over fears of further spread of coronavirus. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha made the announcement at a media briefing on Wednesday, March 20, 2020.

Visa on arrival is not a bad policy in itself, but the concern is whether the country has developed the right capacity to implement it without undermining Nigeria’s national security and assets. It is unfair to place the emergence of Boko Haram on the implementation of the visa on arrival policy.

Nigeria’s visa policy was first presented by President Buhari on February 4 2020, at the Council chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The policy, according to Buhari, was announced to attract innovation, specialised skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local capacity in Nigeria. “The new visa policy provides an avenue to achieve African integration by the introduction of visas on arrival for short visits to Nigeria for holders of passports of African Union (AU) countries.”

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, recently gave an unfair assessment by calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately proscribe the Miyetti Allah groups existing in the country as was done to IPOB as the first step to ending the raging herdsmen crisis in the country. The association also urged the federal government to review its open visa or visa arrival policy as it had allowed armed herders from West African countries easy access into the country.

There is no link between visa on arrival policy and the emergence of Boko Haram. Visa on arrival policy started in 2020 and Mohammed Yusuf founded the sect that became known as Boko Haram in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of the north-eastern state of Borno. He established a religious complex and school that attracted poor Muslim families from across Nigeria and neighbouring countries. ... Yusuf’s arrest elevated him to hero status.
The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 was intended to attract innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available ones. NVP 2020 is a global visa system that will boost internal security because there is biometrics linked to online applications for each applicant. Chances of criminals beating the system are negligible. Biometrics is to be conducted at the port of entry which is a major boost to Nigeria’s national security. The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 has security identity num which is like the national identification number, or national insurance number which helps to boost internal security which is used by the governments of many countries as a means of tracking their citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, government benefits, health care, and other governmentally-related functions.

I wish to throw more light on the issue of visa on arrival as many people are not aware and usually get embarrassed about it. One cannot acquire a visa on arrival without a letter of approval from the delegation of national security in the country of your origin. So you need somebody to do this at least one or two weeks before your arrival. The Visa on Arrival policy will not compromise the country’s security, that this government together with the relevant stakeholders such as the Office of the National Security (ONS), International Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the Immigration Department will profile visitors to make sure that they do not have a questionable character before entering the country.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, has said that the visa policy took into consideration the specific needs of foreigners who would want to visit the country, without compromising the security of the country. The minister said the policy had followed a process that considered the security, economy and territorial integrity of the country, and would only be issued after due diligence with other security components of the country. “Especially, the new visa policy will be helpful to diaspora Nigerians by birth who can now use other passports to visit the country because some countries do not allow dual citizenship,’’ he added.

In a technical presentation, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, said the service had already put in place a technological hub, called the Migrants Information and Data Analysis (MIDAS), to ensure strict compliance with the conditions for the issuance of the visa. Babandede assured that issues of corruption or bribery will be controlled by the automated system while allaying fears of possible infiltration of the economy by criminals and terrorists.

He said the new policy has 79 categories, which include health, education, tourism etc, pointing out that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Interpol also made inputs into the system, and would be carried along in the processing before approvals. The policy as not being a bad policy said they are concerned about the intelligence level of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, to track those coming in with wrong intentions.

President Muhammadu Buhari last year in Abuja explained that the new Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 aims at attracting innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement local capacity. The President said, “The implementation of the Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 will support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.’’

With the official launch of the Nigeria Visa Policy (NVP) 2020 by President Buhari, here are some salient points to note:
-A greater part of 2019 was devoted to conceiving and enunciating the policy, with retreats, conferences and engagements with stakeholders by the Nigeria Immigration Service. These held in August, October, and December, in Lagos, Benin, and Abuja, respectively. It was, therefore, not a hasty decision.
- -Visa on Arrival to be issued only at airports, not at land borders.
-There are three categories of visas: short visit, temporary, and permanent residence.
-From the previous six, there are now 79 classes of visa.
-There is Visa for Diaspora Nigerians by birth, with dual citizenship.
-Visa on Arrival is only for short visits, and there is little chance that visitors will come in to take jobs which should have been for Nigerians.
-The system is automated. No cash transaction, so the chances of corruption are reduced.
-NVP is part of a wider reform ‘NIS Border Strategy, 2019-2023.’
-It holds immense economic benefits for the country. As President Buhari said; “The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is intended to attract innovation, specialized skills and knowledge from abroad to complement locally available will support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council. The policy is expected to improve the business environment, attract Foreign Direct Investment and boost tourism without compromising national security
Donald writes via

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