BY: VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA: The Federal Government of Nigeria said it is not going to accept payment for visa and other consular charges in foreign currencies as introduced by some diplomatic and consular missions in the country.
Speaking yesterday during a meeting with the members of the diplomatic corps on the planned one day summit-level conference to mark the celebration of Nigeria’s centenary, Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola A. Adaku, said it is unacceptable and illegal.
“I would like to raise an issue of deep concern to the Federal Government. It has come to our notice that some diplomatic and consular missions in Nigeria to charge visa and other consular fees in foreign currencies. This is totally unacceptable and must be stopped forthwith.
Charging fees in foreign currencies is an illegal act that clearly violates the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No self-respecting nation can accept such a flagrant assault on the symbol of its nationhood,” the minister said.
Recently, the British High Commission in Abuja announced that from 16th of this months all applications for a United Kingdom’s visa must be completed using their online application system and paid for online in US Dollars.
The payment according to a statement signed by its Political and Press & Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Rob Fitzpatrick, can be made using Verve debit card, Visa, MasterCard credit, debit cards or the e-wallet PAGA.
The move to online application and payments they said will deliver a streamlined application process and is consistent with a wider global trend to online transactions and payments which met the requirements of the UK Government’s Digital by Default initiative and will help cut costs in the management of the visas operation, which in turn helps to keep visa fees down.
On the centenary celebration, the minister said, it provides a special opportunity to rejoice and reflect on the journey so far, reposition the country for national transformation in order to realize its potentials for future growth and development.
“Despite the differences and insinuation, Nigeria is still willing to be one. We will not break up,” Onwuliri said.