Nigeria denies visas to Namibians

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

DESPITE Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geofrey Onyeama’s recent visit to Namibia to, among other things, strengthen diplomatic relations between the two countries, Namibians are allegedly still not welcomed in western African country.

Confidente understands that the office of the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek has since April not been issuing visas to Namibians who want to travel to that country. This also triggered the national airline Air Namibia to suspend its Windhoek-Lagos route.

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It was reported earlier this year that Namibians were perceived to be anti-Nigerian and Nigerians had allegedly been advised to avoid visiting Namibia and using Windhoek as a transit point when travelling to South Africa.

Confidente understands that this situation has not normalised since, but has in fact worsened.

“We pay N0 when we apply for the visas online and it’s an awkward process.

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Last week, one Namibian man came to the High Commission to submit his application for a visa.

“He was called by an employee at the High Commission, saying that he should really not waste his time and that he would not get the visa anytime soon, because it is something that was already decided: not to give Namibians visas to travel to Nigeria,” the source said.

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This is despite the fact that Nigeria’s minister of foreign affairs came to Namibia in September to discuss the situation and the wider public was left with the impression that bilateral relations had returned to normal, but the latest revelations suggest it might have been a mere smokescreen.

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“It was just for formalities, but does not reflect what is happening on the ground, because Namibians are still being denied visas and the list is very long,” the source added.

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Asked why Nigeria denies Namibians visas and if there is a diplomatic spat between the two countries, executive director in the Ministry of International Relations in Namibia Selma Ashipala-Musayvi referred this reporter back to the Nigerian High Commission.

“We have been issuing visas to Nigerians coming to Namibia, but I am also aware that Namibians wishing to travel to Nigeria are not being issued visas but you can ask the Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia,” she said.

Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia Adegboyenga Ariyo was not available for comment since last week.

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Officials at the High Commission said she was not in the office. Questions sent to the High Commission were also not responded to at the time of going to print this week.

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Namibia and Nigeria’s friendship was cemented in the days before independence and reinforced when members of the Nigerian Defence Force joined the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, which oversaw the country’s transition in the run-up to Independence in 1990.