The Association of Professional Chefs, Nigeria (APCN) has condemned the denial of visas by the South African High Commission to 12 of its official representatives.
The president of APCN, Mr Paulinus Okon, described the development as a deplorable one.
Okon said that the delegates were billed to attend the ongoing Hospitality All African People Imbizo (HAAPI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Okon told the Newsmen that HAAPI event was aimed at positioning tourism in Nigeria among the best in the world.
Okon said, “HAAPI is the ultimate African Heritage Festival celebrating food, music, film, culture and fashion.’’
He said that the event which started on Sept. 2 would end on Sept. 9.
Okon said that the organisers of the event had sent several mails to the High Commission in Abuja and the Consulate –General of South Africa in Lagos.
He said that Nigerian officials were still denied visas to attend the event.
He, however, said that the embassy said that each of the association’s members was not having sufficient funds in their accounts that could sustain them during the conference.
He said that the Lagos office of the embassy denied seven delegates that processed their visas from Lagos while the other five who did theirs in Abuja were also denied visas by the Abuja office of the embassy.
He said that Ghana hosted HAAPI in 2016, Nigeria hosted in 2018 while South Africa is hosting this year’s edition in Johannesburg.
“’The denial of Nigeria’s representation visa in an event where no less than 20 countries will be participating leaves doubts as to the sincerity of the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa.
“Agreed, the embassy has the right to decide who and who can enter their country, but the deliberate denial of visas to official representatives in events, gives a negative signal.’’
The president said that the red tape created in Africa for Africans to move around on the continent is very shameful, disappointing and unacceptable.
Some Nigerians were recently attacked and their belongings destroyed in South Africa by some South Africans.
Some youths from Nigeria had allegedly launched a reprisal attack on South African business enterprises in parts of the country also.