£3,000 visa bond: FG summons British High Commissioner

// Headline | £3,000 visa bond: FG summons British High Commissioner
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
A diplomatic row  seems to be  brewing between Nigeria and the United Kingdom following a  proposed policy by the  British Government  requiring  Nigerian travellers to the UK to deposit £3,000 as bond in case they overstay  their visa limits.
 
On Monday,  the Federal Government  summoned the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock, over the development  while the House of Representatives which flayed  the policy, argued that it could have negative impact on the relationship between  the two countries.
Nigeria, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Pakistan and India are  listed by the UK  as  countries whose citizens are to deposit the £3,000 under  the  proposed  policy that will take off in November.
 
A Home Office official said the six countries highlighted were those with “the most significant risk of abuse.”
About 2.2million people are granted visas to enter Britain every year.
 
Last year, 296,000 people from India were granted six-month visas, as were 101,000 from Nigeria; 53,000 from Pakistan; and 14,000 apiece from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
 
According to media reports, the Home Secretary Theresa May,  said the administration of British Prime Minister, David Cameron,  is serious about cutting immigration and abuses of the system.
 
The Sunday Times of  London had reported that  every visitor  aged 18 and above granted a  six-month visa would  forfeit the £3,000 if they overstayed in Britain after the expiration of their  visa .
 
Initially, the scheme will target hundreds of visitors, but the plan is to extend it to several thousands, according to the broadsheet’s front-page report.
 
 It was gathered that Pocock would  meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru,  on Tuesday (today) to explain  the policy.
 
A source close to the ministry, who confirmed the meeting,  said the government was seriously concerned about the implication of the policy on the economy and image of the country.
 
“Pocock is to explain to government if the plan is true and why Nigeria is a target. Government is worried about the highly discriminatory policy which tends to portray the country in a bad light,” he explained.
Another source told one of our correspondents that the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida,  was  also billed to brief Ashiru    on the development.
 
But Ashiru,  at the 2013 Ministerial Platform on the mid-term activities and achievements of the ministry in Abuja on Monday, said  he had not been contacted officially by the UK authorities  on the development.
He said, “We have not received any official communication from the UK government. When we receive communication, we will study the proposal. I can assure all Nigerians that President Goodluck Jonathan’s government will defend the interest of Nigerians by whatever means it can. When we get the proposal,  we will study it to see how it will  affect  ordinary Nigerians.”
 
 
In the   House of Representatives,  Chairman,  Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ms. Nnena Elendu-Ukeje, stated that the policy was a U-turn on a promise by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to improve trade relations between the two countries  next year.
 
She said,  “This policy will not foster true  relationship between Nigeria and the UK. It does not promote the spirit of the Commonwealth either.
 
“The same British Government that promised improved trade relations with Nigeria is introducing such a discriminatory policy.
 
“It is a somersault, to say the least.”
 
However, Elendu-Ukeje observed that the policy appeared to be “a political issue.”
 
She explained, “The Conservative Party wants to prove that they are serious about immigration matters. They are doing this to win voters ahead of the next elections.”
 
But, she called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to register its protest before the take-off date of the policy.
 
“We have to take proactive measures to oppose this policy and by way of reciprocity because next time they will increase this bond of a thing”, she said.
 
The lawmaker recalled that in 2008, the British Government introduced £1,000 “fine” on travellers.
“They tried it first in 2008; today, four years down the line, they are saying that it will be £3,000. What will be the next figure if we don’t take proactive measures now?” Elendu-Ukeje  asked.
 
An expert in constitutional law, Prof. Itse Sagay, also  described the  policy as “  hostile and therefore contrary to international diplomacy.”
 
 He said, “It is evidence of contempt and a clear case of saying ‘we don’t want people from their country and  so let us make it impossible for them to come.
 
 “How many people can pay N750,000 as deposit which the British Government will keep and probably trade with while the owner cannot touch it. I think we need to respond appropriately by also raising impossible barrier to British people coming into Nigeria  so  that at  the end,  we will see who will lose more.
“I think they are making the mistake of believing we need them more than they need us.  In fact,  it is they who are making more out of Nigeria.
 
“They have a wrong idea of their importance to us. We are more important to them than they are to us.”
Meanwhile,  Ashiru said at the   Ministerial Platform  that Nigeria’s   foreign policy in the 70s  could not  be compared with the present.
 
He said, “The problem today is unemployment. We have to use diplomacy to support job creation in Nigeria so that we can develop our private sector to make it  employ more people.
 
“Our youths from universities cannot get jobs. So foreign diplomacy must be used to create jobs and that is what we have been doing.”
 
Justifying the budgets for generators and fuel used by  Nigerian High Commissions in countries with constant power supply, Ashiru said the criticism “is the ignorance of the highest order.”
 
“It is to power the boiler which in most countries in Europe either uses fuel or gas. It is to heat and power the foreign mission houses in winter and also to get hot water.”
 
According to him, the biggest challenge facing the ministry is the plight of Nigerians living abroad.
 
“All ambassadors now know that their priority is to attend to the needs of Nigerians in their countries of accreditation. No Ambassador today is allowed to close his doors on Nigerians,” the minister said.
 
Ashiru warned Nigerians living abroad against drug trafficking, adding that it was tantamount to committing suicide.
 
 “I must   warn those who willfully commit crime and thereby commit suicide. Drug trafficking in some countries attracts death penalty. All the airports today have sophisticated equipment; there is no where you hide the drug in your body that you will not be caught.”
 
Ashiru also ruled out closing any foreign mission house because, “when you close a mission, you lose a friend. Nigeria cannot afford to lose a friend at this time”.
 
He promised that no Nigeria would be treated unjustly in foreign lands.
 
Tagged : Trending, FG summons British High Commissioner, Nigerian travellers to the UK to deposit £3000 as

Headlines Newsview all

Diamond Star Joshua Adah Hacked To Death By Fulani Heardsmen

Joshua Adah who is One of the stars of Mo Abudu's Naija Diamonds Season 2 which held in 2012, was hacked to death in Taraba ... Full story

Grace Okpara, Nigerian Worker In Ogun State Tortured By Her Lebanese Employers

A Nigerian employee who has been tortured and maltreated by her Lebanese bosses is in pains at the moment. A Nigerian woman, Grace Okpara, is reeling ... Full story

PSquare Set To Bury Dad On Friday

The family of Peter and Paul Okoye the Psquare brothers  are set to bury their dad, Pa Moses Okoye on Friday, 3oth January 2015. Their dad ... Full story

I Will Be The First Entertainer To Become Nigeria's President - Davido

Popular Nigerian music sensation, Davido, has disclosed his intention to become the first entertainer to be the President of Nigeria, adding that the All Progressive ... Full story

Performance By 'AKA' At Nigeria's Industry Nite Event Postponed

Multiple-Award Winning South African artist, AKA, is unable to perform at tonight’s Industry Nite event in Nigeria due to unforeseen delays with the issuance of ... Full story

New Promo Pics Released By 'Jhybo' Looks Like A Model

Jhybo in conjunction with Lima music storm into 2015 with some great fresh promo pictures. We love the model look…. ... Full story

Check Out Throwback Pictures Of 'Davido'

Check-Out Throwback Pictures Of Davido  See his “ekeh” like 10naira puff-puff     ... Full story

Court Suspension Lifted On All Progressives Congress Fund Raising Platform

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday restrained five telecoms firms from suspending All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign fund-raising platform. Justice Ibrahim Buba made the ... Full story

We Saw Helicopters Dropping Arms, Food For 'Boko Haram'

Displaced residents of Monguno, in Borno State, which was recently taken over by Boko Haram, have said they saw helicopters dropping arms and food items ... Full story

Teachers Calls Off Strike At Ogun

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Ogun State chapter, on Tuesday, called off its 10-day old strike. The decision was announced after a meeting between the ... Full story

Suspected 61-Year-Old Gay Man Almost Beaten To Death In Lagos

A man suspected of trying to lure a boy into gay sex narrowly escaped being beaten to death by an angry mob. But for timely intervention ... Full story

Comment on: £3,000 visa bond: FG summons British High Commissioner

Rate this article

2.00

Breaking News

'Kim Kardashian West' Hired A Nutritionist To Help Lose Weight (VIDEO)

Kim Kardashian West has hired a nutritionist to help her lose weight. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star, who is married to rapper Kanye West, ... Full story

'D’banj’s' Girlfriend 'Bonang Matheba' In Sexy Pose With Burna Boy (PHOTOS)

The event was a celebrity-studded all-white party in South Africa on Saturday, 24th January 2015. Hosted by rapper Da Les in his home in Northern Johannesburg, ... Full story

Federal Government To Pay N145 Million Compensation To Poultry Owners

The Federal Government has directed the compensation of N145 million to be paid to all poultry farms affected with bird flu within 72 Hours. The minister ... Full story

Guinea, Mali Qualification Hopes Lie In Ballot Votes

Guinea and Mali will have to wait until lots are drawn to decide who will advance to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations ... Full story

Abuja Agog For Omotola At 20 (Pictures)

Residents of Abuja were excited when superstar actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde stormed the city for the celebration of her 20 years in the movie industry in ...

Why I Sleep With Fresh Female Corpses—Ghanaian Morgue Attendant

Wonders, they say, will not cease to end or how would one explain why an able-bodied young man will decide in his mind to start ...

I’m Also Good To Be Nigeria’s President—Davido Declares

While other Nigerian celebrities are busy vying to be lawmakers at the state and federal levels in the forthcoming election, Davido is seeking President Goodluck ...

Buhari’s Daughter Returns To Twitter, Accuses PDP Of Hacking Her Account

Daughter of presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Muhamadu Buhari, Zahra, has returned to social media after she went off, sparking speculations that ...

Fuji Star, Malaika, To Move Into Expensive Ajah Home (Photo)

Reports making the rounds have it that a prominent Fuji musician, Sulaimon Alao Adekunle fondly called ‘Malaika’, is set to finally move into his new ...

It’s Nobody’s Business If I’m Married or Not—Waje Blows Hot

‘I wish’ crooner, Waje whose real is name Aituaje Iruobe, has opened up on her relationship status and said she would let people know when ...