By Victoria Ojeme
The federal government has hinted on proposals to introduce’visa-on-arrival’ regimes for all visitors into Nigeria, as part of policies for ease of doing business in the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama stated this yesterday a meeting with his Namibian counterpart, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah in Windhoek, the Namibian capital.
The two countries also agreed on a mechanism for achieving mutually beneficial cooperation a meeting of the Joint Commission which will be held early in 2020.
These were the outcomes of the meetings between the visiting Nigerian delegation led by Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and the Namibian Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and other Namibian Ministers.
In a press statement issued by the Minister’s media assistant, Sarah Sanda, the Minister said they addressed recent issues regarding the issuance of visas to Namibians and Nigerians and entry into Namibia for Nigerians and reached very important and concrete agreements in respect of those.
“Any Namibian wishing to obtain a visa to Nigeria can apply and will be considered as was the case in the past. Once the requirements are met satisfactorily, such a person will be issued a visa. Same applies to a Nigerian wishing to go to Namibia,” he said.
The meeting also agreed that any visa denial or deportation will not be stamped in the holders passport. Furthermore, consular meetings will be held quarterly to assess how things are progressing.
Onyeama added that Nigeria is moving towards a “visa on arrival” regime as part of the policy of “Ease of Doing Business” in Nigeria adding that “on line applications will facilitate that but it is still a work in progress.”
He said that over the years, Nigeria has engaged with Namibia through the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) which is “one mechanism through which we support countries by sending out our brightest young professionals in various fields – Medical, Educational etc depending on the needs of the country, for a period of time.”
He further reiterated his belief that the partnership being forged through the Joint Commission can “transform the lives of our peoples in the framework of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union (AU) and the 2030 Sustainable Development goals of the UN.”
Onyeama expressed happiness over what he described as the “rare priviledge of speaking with H.E. the President of Namibia on phone. “He was extremely gracious to welcome me and my delegation and expressed solidarity to the people of Nigeria. This again is testament of the strong bond that exists between our two countries and the huge respect we have for each other.”
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Namibia date back to the 2nd March 1990 following the country’s attainment of independence. Since then, relations have been warm and cordial owing to the role Nigeria played during Namibia’s liberation struggle with the provision of financial, material and logistical support for SWAPO.
In recognition of these contributions, Nigeria was recognised as a frontline State despite her geographical location and in 2008, the City of Windhoek renamed the street where the Nigeria High Commission is located, to General Murtala Mohammed Avenue.
Nigeria also participated in the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) that midwived Namibia’s independence. At the end of this operation, the Nigeria police was requested to remain behind and help build the new Namibian police.