By Ajibola Patrick
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) deliberately in line with the global best practices increased the visa categories from 6 to 79 as contained in the Nigeria 2020 Visa Policy, the National Public Relations Officer of the agency, Deputy Comptroller Sunday James has said.
He added that the policy would support the attainment of a globally competitive economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
Furthermore, the policy is expected to improve the business environment, attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and boost tourism without compromising national security.
He made the revelations at the weekend while delivering a lecture titled: Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 and Implications for Africa Economy at the international virtual summit organised by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM).
The summit themed Migration: Remedies for Covid-19 and the economy had participants and speakers from both within Africa and other continents.
Ajibola Abayomi, President of JIFORM described the synergy between the global media body that has over 200 journalists spread across the continents and the NIS as fruitful over the years.
He praised the Comptroller General of the NIS, Muhammad Babandede, MFR, for steering the revolution at the agency leading to the recognition of the NIS as the most reformed minded parastatal by the Presidency in the nation earlier in the year.
Speaking, James said: “The Nigeria Visa Policy 2020 is not just another document added to the publications of the Nigeria Immigration Service but a national document on specifics on a major core mandate of a service that manages and controls the mobility of human beings coming and leaving the country and to another from 6 Classes of Visas to 79, and 87 pages book that deals with Visa as a tool used by the nation to spur economic growth, enhance security and national development.”
He said it had impacted on promotion of investments, job creation and technological advancement so far.
“Thanks to Mr President Muhammadu Buhari that gave approval by presenting the document to the public in his word, “I am Confident that the Nigeria Visa policy 2020 will support the attainment of a globally competitive Economy for Nigeria by building on the efforts of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).”
The NIS Deputy Comptroller said the document had taken care of all diplomatic concerns, means of control deployed by nation to admit or refuse entry into territories.
“As a sovereign nation, protection of national identity is at the root of nationalism, the defence of territorial integrity is basically about border security and control, a role played by the NIS more prominently since the appointment of Muhammad Babandede as the 16th Comptroller General.
“Migration and visa wheels human mobility from place to place. Hence, the need for a clear national identity and a robust defence of the territorial integrity of the country by the operations of a modern, effective and efficient immigration service manned by well trained and motivated workforce, this can be seen in today’s NIS.
“Nigeria as a nation for the first time can reciprocate any act of visa violation to any country as appropriate using the visa fees, duration and even non-issuance as it applies, the visa regime ensures economic prosperity and ease of doing business with the visa on arrival, e-visa, Temporary Working Permit (TWP), STR visas and Visitors Pass among others to woe investors, tourists and highly qualified, skilled professionals” he said.