Nigeria protests UK visa bond
Abuja: Nigeria has registered its discontent over a proposed visa scheme of the UK that would require first time travellers from six high-risk Afro-Asian countries to pay a hefty financial bond of 3,000 pounds.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru on Tuesday summoned the British High Commissioner to the country, Andrew Pocock, and told that the policy would hamper people-to-people relations between the two countries.
The UK Home Office has announced a pilot scheme under which most visitors from six high-risk Afro-Asian countries, including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Ghana, will be required to furnish a 3,000 pounds bond for a six-month visit visa, which they will forfeit if they overstay in Britain.
Ashiru reminded the high commissioner that there was a time when nationals of Commonwealth countries travelled without visa to the United Kingdom and other member countries.
"The time-honoured practice was unilaterally jettisoned by the UK in 1985 thereby weakening the bonds of the Commonwealth family," he said.
The British high commissioner said no final decision has been taken on the pilot scheme of the policy which would be undertaken on a very small scale.
He noted that if it eventually takes effect, those who pay the bond would receive their money back if they do not abuse the terms of their visa.
The proposed policy has elicited a lot of anger amongst Nigerians who take to the social media to express their annoyance at what they consider the disdainful regard for Nigerians in spite of the longstanding historical, cultural and business ties between the two nations.
Nigeria has joined the global outrage around the pilot scheme announced by the UK for the six countries to run for 12 months from November.
India has also expressed serious concern over the move and sought clarification from the UK government.