The Nigerian Senate has rejected the visa-on-arrival policy of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The lawmakers said the move by the president is premature, considering the spate of insecurity currently witnessed in the country.
President Buhari had announced on Wednesday, December 11, at the Aswan Forum in Egypt that starting from January 2020, other Africans will be allowed to enter Nigeria without a visa.
The president said Nigeria will commence issuance of visas at the point of entry into the country, to other African nationals in line with his administration’s commitment to supporting the free movement of Africans within Africa.
The Senate, however, rejected the president’s idea and went ahead to summon the minister of interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola along with Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration to appear before its committee on interior, judiciary and legal matters.
The invitation was to explain to the Senate the legality, logistics and constitutional issues available and required for compliance, before the implementation of the visa-on-arrival policy.
Senator Adewunmi Adetunbi of the ruling All Progressives Congress argued that “It is premature constitutionally and legally impossible for the provisions of the said agreement to have any effect within the territory of Nigeria,”. Supporting the motion, Senate Minority Leader Eyinnaya Abaribe said a lot of Nigerians were worried about the policy because of the spate of insecurity in the country. “What it meant was that anybody could just come in and actually cause mayhem in Nigeria not knowing the result,” he observed.
However, Senator Barau Jibrin opposed the view of the senators who rejected the policy, stressing that the policy announced by Buhari is a global trend, and should not in any way be faulted.