Nigeria has threatened to reciprocate any case of visa or travel ban imposed on it by any other country of the world.
Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) sounded the note of warning while reacting to the decision of the United States of America to include Nigeria in its list of countries with visa restrictions.
The Immigration boss noted that while it is understandable for any country to impose a visa or travel ban, other countries also have similar rights to reciprocate such action.
Babandede made the submission during an interview with TheSignature50 magazine.
“I can tell you that US is a country, it is a nation like Nigeria. They have the right to restrict who will enter their territory or not just like we can restrict US citizen or whomsoever from entering Nigeria,” Babandede said.
“So they have the right, but I want people to know that Visa restriction is not a Visa ban, it is a ban for people who want to take residency not people who want to go for short visits.
“You are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR just launched a new visa policy for Nigeria, the visa policy has 79 classes of visa. So, we will be in a position to say to countries, if you allow us for short visits we will allow you for short visits and if you stop us from other visits, we do the same, because the new visa policy is based on reciprocity.
“So, we will test this for a year and see those who reciprocate and we take actions for those who do otherwise.”
Babandede also spoke on what he has been doing since he assumed office to reposition the Nigeria Immigration Service for better performance and service delivery.
“When I came on board, I was really ashamed to find Immigration office, especially commands been kept in the federal secretariat, we are law enforcement agency, we ought not to be in a Federal Secretariat. So I made a commitment to myself that every year, I want to commission two new buildings – commands,” he said.
“And we have developed a model for each command. I am glad to say that 2017, we did two – Kano and Jigawa, 2018 we did two – Plateau and Abia, and 2019 we did three – we commissioned Adamawa, Zamfara and Uyo.
“This year 2020, God’s willing we will commission around five or eight, depending on the availability of fund.”