Charging Visa, Consular Service Fees In Foreign Currencies Illegal – FG

Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri
Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri

The federal government has warned foreign missions in Nigeria demanding payment for visas and consular services in foreign currencies to stop the practice forthwith, saying it violates Nigeria’s sovereignty.

Speaking yesterday at a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps in Abuja, Supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri described the practice as unacceptable and illegal.

“It has come to our notice that some diplomatic and consular missions in Nigeria choose to charge visa and other consular fees in foreign currencies. This is totally unacceptable and must be stopped forthwith.

“Charging fees in foreign currencies is an illegal act that clearly violates the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No self-respecting nation can accept such a flagrant assault on the symbol of its nation-hood.”

The British High Commission in Nigeria recently announced that payment for visa applications would only be accepted in dollars, using Verve debit card, Visa, Master Card, debit cards or the e-wallet PAGA.

“The move to online application and payments will deliver a streamlined application process consistent with a wider global trend to online transactions and payments which met the requirements of the UK Government’s digital by default initiative,” the high commission had said in a statement to announce the new practice.

Other embassies such as the United States and Germany accept their visa fees in naira equivalent of the amount specified in their currencies.

Onwuliri also spoke on the planned one-day summit on Nigeria’s centenary celebration, emphasising that it would provide a special opportunity to rejoice and reflect on the journey so far.

According to her, the centenary celebration is expected to reposition the country for national transformation in order to realise its potential for future growth and development.