Friday, August 16, 2013

Revenge? Nigeria plans £5000 visa bond for UK citizens

Three months to the commencement of the £3,000 visa bond regime due to be imposed on Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom, the Federal Government may have perfected plans to impose a £5,000 visa bond on prospective British citizens visiting Nigeria.

This is in retaliation to the new but controversial immigration policy of the UK scheduled to commence in November 2013.

The Home Office of the United Kingdom, recently classified Nigeria, India, as “high risk” and placed a £3,000 bond on every Nigerian visiting Britain.

The bond will be forfeited to the British government if an immigrant overstays his permit.

More than two million Nigerians are residing in the UK.

Uproar had greeted the immigration policy described as “discriminatory” since its announcement in June.

Nigeria is one of the countries put on the British “high-risk-list”. Others are India, Ghana, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The countries are slated for the pilot scheme of the new immigration policy to check immigration abuses.

A reliable source at the Nigerian High Commission in London said that the refusal of the British Government to backpedal on the visa bond compelled Nigeria to fight back.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, had earlier assured that Nigeria would react appropriately if the policy was eventually implemented.

The source, who is a senior officer of the High Commission but did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent in London that Nigeria had officially protested to the British government over the policy.

He, however, said that there was no sign that the British would rescind the decision.

“As a responsible country, we have protested officially against the discriminatory policy to the British government. But from all indications there is no going back on the policy. We have tried to make them see reasons on the need to review the new immigration policy, but it is like a done deal.

“Don’t forget that Nigeria has threatened to retaliate if the policy is implemented. So, we are only waiting for the implementation and the modalities of the new British immigration policy. But I can assure you that the Nigerian government won’t fold its hands. We would even raise the stake beyond the £3,000 they are asking Nigerians to pay as bond. We are looking at £5,000 as visa bond for UK citizens visiting Nigeria. This is our plan, which is subject to the approval of the Federal Government,” the source said