As Nigerian missions abroad prepare to the full digital processing regime, international airports across the country are being fitted with systems designed to automate the entire visa issuing process and passenger clearance by Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). This is found in the state-of- the art visa on arrival lounge at the country’s international airports. Already, the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja had been fitted with the lounge, which consists of an innovative automated, secure and networked immigration visa on arrival processing desk, electronic passage control, and event monitoring facilities.
The new visa regime, called Nigeria Intelligent Visa Administration (NIVA), makes Nigeria the first country in Africa to completely digitalise its visa acquisition procedure. Meanwhile, it has also been gathered that, in less than three week, not less than 140 Nigerian foreign missions would begin issuing the new visas, which would put Nigeria ahead of the United States and the Schengen states of Europe. This is because the new e-visa vignette, which is at the heart of the whole concept, though similar in appearance to the ones used in these countries, is rated much higher in terms of installed security features.
Further information from the Ministry of Interior, under which the project was birthed and nurtured, also revealed that the new visa administration would significantly increase the number of genuine visitors, especially business people that are granted entry permit into the country per year from the current estimate of over 400,000 per year. This is in view of the renewed interest by foreign investors in the country since Nigeria’s economy was rebased as the largest in Africa. It has also been designed as a tool to prevent, track and clampdown on foreigners who come into the country with unscrupulous motive masked in phony investment portfolio.
The new visa vignette is fitted with security features that carry the biometric data and other information of applicants that could unveil every available information about them prior to being granted entry permit into the country. In cases where a person is granted a visa into the Nigeria, NIVA visa would also help the respective authorities to keep surveillance on them, especially where there is suspicion that such a person may be engaging in activities that compromise security of the country.
The visa vignette to be used in the new regime is fitted with high profile tamper proof features. It is being produced for Nigeria by a security printing firm owned by the government of Austria, Austria State Printing House, OSD (Osterreicuiche Staatddruckerei GMBH).
Meanwhile, it has been gathered that the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, made a personal visit to Austria to vet the quality of the production, alongside other technical staff of the ministry and gave it the nod. Moro, who visited the service provider in Abuja recently, said: “It would usher in a new era of opportunity for high profile businesses to come and invest in Nigeria.”