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Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari promises Africans visas on arrival


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Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari promises Africans visas on arrival

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Muhammadu Buhari has led Africa’s superpower since 2015 Nigeria says it will give all African travellers visas on arrival from January, dropping the requirement that they apply in advance. President Muhammadu Buhari said it showed Nigeria’s commitment to “free movement of Africans within Africa”. The announcement comes five months after…

Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari promises Africans visas on arrival

President Muhammadu Buhari speaks during a meeting with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, in Pretoria, South Africa, October 3, 2019Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Muhammadu Buhari has led Africa’s superpower since 2015

Nigeria says it will give all African travellers visas on arrival from January, dropping the requirement that they apply in advance.

President Muhammadu Buhari said it showed Nigeria’s commitment to “free movement of Africans within Africa”.

The announcement comes five months after Nigeria signed a deal aimed at promoting free trade on the continent.

But Mr Buhari’s critics accuse him of being a protectionist, undermining the vision of pan-African unity.

He has kept Nigeria’s land borders with all its neighbours closed since August, making it impossible for businesses to do cross-border trade by road.

Mr Buhari has rejected pressure to lift the blockade, saying it was aimed at ending the smuggling of goods into Nigeria and to make the nation self-sufficient, especially in the production of food.

The borders were shut despite the fact that Nigeria is part of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a 15-nation regional bloc which allows visa-free travel among its estimated 350 million citizens.

Mr Buhari gave no indication of when the blockade will be lifted when he announced the government’s latest policy on visas for African passport-holders.

Currently, applicants often need to make a request for a visa in their country of origin, and it will be issued when they arrive in the West African state, BBC Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones says.

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This would change in the New Year, when citizens of all African states would be able to board a plane to Nigeria and get a visa on arrival, she adds.

Nigeria is seen as an African superpower, with the biggest economy and population.

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