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South African Embassy: The ordeal of Nigerian Visa applicants

By Lawani Mikairu, Head Foreign Desk, Emeka Aginam, Asst. Online Editor
While other foreign missions in Nigeria embrace online visa appointment system, the South African embassy in Nigeria is still operating the old manual  system where applicants have to queer in front of the embassy early in the morning everyday to get appointment.

Visa applicants struggling to enter the South Africa Embassy for visa appointment.
Visa applicants struggling to enter the South Africa Embassy for visa appointment.

Although the Nigerian Police and security agents attached to the embassy appear helpless in controlling the daily queer in the embassy, this  old system of visa appointment system, according to Vanguard findings,  has left many  applicant worse off in the process of their visa application.

With the  current scenario, Vanguard leant that  prospective visa  applicants may have to spend weeks looking for access for visa interview.

Worst still, because getting access to the visa section is sometimes  survival of the fittest, many prospective visa applicants in the process, it was leant,  have sustained series of injuries as well as losing their personal  effects like phone, wallet among others.

For the visa racketeers or touts using their ATM cards to issue money to prospective visa applicants, it is always a rainy day for them  because of the fact that they make money from the disorganized system.

The implication of the disorganized system is that many genuine visa applicants including Nigerian journalists that are preparing to attend  Highway Africa Conference slated to  hold first week of September 2009 in  Grahamstown,   South Africa or other Nigerians  going for either medical or training may have to forfeit their travels as a result of the difficulties encountered in getting appointment.

For the Consular officials in the embassy  who are said to be  very  transparent in their visa processing, the large number of visa applicants have been  difficult to manage.

Just yesterday, one of the officials of the visa section used category system where certain applicants were  called to go in for their interview. But amazingly, the visa official who  was  sensitive enough to call certain categories of people including those going for medical reasons, Pastors, women carrying their babies among others, did not mention  the media people who have been in the vanguard for a better society.

“I have been coming here since one month without success. I do not know why many things are wrong with African system. The South African embassy can do online system. It will not cost them anything. I do not know why we have to go through hell here to be attended to. God help us with kind of system” a visa applicant muted while struggling to get access for possible interview.

With this development, keen observers have reasoned that it is high time the embassy organizes their visa appointment system   like other embassies that now use software that allows visa applicants to apply online.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.