Nigeria Opposes British Plan to Impose Visa Bond

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Nigeria's Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru
Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru

ABUJA , Nigeria — Nigeria on Tuesday blasted as “discriminatory” a British plan to force visitors from the West African country and some other selected Commonwealth nations to provide a cash bond before they can enter the U.K.

Foreign minister Olugbenga Ashiru expressed Nigeria’s displeasure at the plan when he met in his office with British High Commissioner to Nigeria Andrew Pocock, a foreign ministry statement said.

The minister described the policy “as not only discriminatory, but also capable of undermining the spirit of the Commonwealth family,” it said.

The Sunday Times newspaper had reported that as of November, a pilot scheme would target visitors from Nigeria, India and Pakistan plus Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ghana.

Visitors aged 18 and over would be forced to hand over $4,600 (3,500 euros) from November for a six-month visit visa.

They will forfeit the money if they overstay in Britain after their visa has expired.

Ashiru told the British diplomat that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, “has a responsibility to take appropriate measures to protect the interest of Nigerians who may be affected by the proposed policy, if finally introduced,” the statement said.

After the meeting, the British High Commission in Nigeria issued a statement quoting Pocock as saying that his government planned to undertake “a very small scale trial of the use of financial bonds as a way of tackling abuse in the immigration system (which occurs when some people overstay their visa terms).”

He said that the details of the pilot scheme were still being worked out and if it goes ahead in Nigeria, it would affect only a very small number of the highest risk visitors.

Read more: AFP

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