Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Thursday directed Federal Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior to halt forthwith the newly introduced visa policy in United States of America.
The alleged new visa was introduced effective from 16th October, 2017, according to Rita Orji, chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs who raised a motion under urgent public importance.
The Lower Chamber during the plenary session also resolved to probe the activities of the visa contracts awarded to Innovate 1 Services Inc. and Integrated Solutions (OIS) jointly owned by a Nigerian based in the USA with six centres/offices in the entire 50 states in the US.
Orji who led the debate on the floor of the House, described the policy as an attempt to “fleece Nigerians in Diaspora by whatever means,” called for the intervention of the House in the bid to save the image of the country from ridicule.
“Anyone wishing to obtain a Nigerian visa is required to first go and complete a biometric process of finger printing and capturing with this business concern.
“The company charges each applicants a fee of $20 for visa and $12 for passport.
“The House is worried that the new visa process is logically flawed in that, not only are applicants now require to pay additional $90 to the same group of owners, the OIS has just six centres/offices in New Jersey, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“The House further worried that Nigerians in Disapora bear the financial burden of transportation, accommodation and feeding just to obtain visa to come home.
“The House is concerned that this snae business concern first started with BVN registration which they charge every Nigerian in Diaspora who wishes to maintain their bank accounts in Nigeria.
“The House is further concerned that it’s alleged that OIS has been assigned the sole duty of doing biometrics for everyone wishing to obtain Nigerian visa in the USA by the Minister of Foreign Affairs the mind boggling fees of $90 per applicant after such applicant has paid the visa fee of $180,” Orji (PDP-Lagos) alleged.
To this end, the House has mandated its committee on Diaspora, as a matter of urgency, liase with the Nigerian Immigration Service to ascertain the truthfulness of the allegation in a bid to “quell the uprising that is going on right now as a result of this allegation, and report back to the House within one week for further legislative action.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja