The Federal Government has declared that henceforth, Nigeria will adopt the principle of reciprocity in the issuance of visas to foreigners who seek entry into the country.
It said foreigners seeking Nigerian visas will be accorded the same treatment meted out to Nigerians in other countries.
This is as the government has planned to introduce more stringent surveillance measures at the country’s borders in order to checkmate the inflow and outflow of people so as to ensure that the country is safe.
The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo spoke Thursday at the Business Day Conference, titled: Nigeria Forward: Catalyzing Funding for high impact Social Projects, with the theme: “Funding for Change: Building Bridges for a Resilient Nigeria.”
Tunji-Ojo said that the era where countries treat Nigerians with disdain in terms of visa issuance was over, adding that the administration is poised to adopt the principle of give and take in the new approach to issues.
Tunji-Ojo, who was the keynote speaker on the topic: “Ministry of Interior potential high impact social projects”, said the topic was very important to him because it talks about vulnerability and the weakest people in the country.
He said, “The credibility of performance of every government has to be based only on the evaluation of how the government handles the weakest in the society. The essence of government is not just to protect the strong but to make up and amplify the needs of the weak.
“That is why when we came I realized that. I tell people, I do not carry the burden of performance just for myself and my family, I carry the burden of performance for my generation.
“And it is important that every youth in government must understand that. The performance of a youth in government will only open the doors for others. The non performance will just bring us the normal Nigeria mantra, “You see dem, dem no know anything.” It’s time for us when we find ourselves in office, we have to understand.
“I always said this, my father didn’t give me the Nigeria of my dream. Yes, but that is not an excuse for me not to give my children the Nigeria of their dream.
“It means the responsibility of transition from where we are to where we want to be, cannot forever be laid at the doorsteps of yesteryears, it has to be laid on our own doorstep.”
On principle of reciprocity, he said, “Yesterday (Wednesday), the director for the Center for Illegal Migration in Turkey, came to my office. And I told him in the next couple of weeks expect reciprocity in terms of travel policy.
“Any country that does not give me the visa on arrival cannot have visa on arrival in Nigeria. I’m sorry but it is the truth. We’re not a dumping ground. If you say you are useful, people will see you as being useful.
“But if you tell people you are useless, people will tell you why are you this useless. We want to partner with you and so on the table, we must be partners, we must be equal partners and our relationship of investment must be on the basis of the principle of reciprocity.
“So, we are doing that to all the countries in the world. The committee is working. I will receive the report tomorrow, you charge me $100 for a visa, I will charge you $100 for Nigerian visa.
“If you give me visa on arrival. I give it to you. If you say the condition for me to enter your country today is that I must have American visa, Schengen visa, UK visa etc, you will have the same conditions to enter my country. It is not fight, it is about the issue of mutual respect.