The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede, has said that the visa-on-arrival policy will not apply to all visa classes.
The immigration boss said the difference between the old method of issuing tourist visas and the present model is that short-visit visas are now being issued on arrival.
“The difference now is that we will give you that visa at the point of entry. People made a lot of unnecessary propaganda saying Mr President said visa-free. There was nothing like that,” he said in an interview that aired on state television.
“He said the government of Nigeria has liberalised visa for Africans to be issued at the point of entry. So the difference is that instead of going to the embassy to get a visa, you will pick up at the point of entry and in our administrative strategy, we said you will only pick up at airports, no land border for now.
“And it is not every visa you will pick at the airport, we said only short-visit visa. You can’t say you want to pick resident permit and you pick your bag from another country to enter Nigeria.
“In the olden days, we only issued rubber-stamp visa; ink and rubber-stamp. Later we went to vignette but this visa we are issuing at the point of entry is a biometric visa. We’ll take your fingerprint and picture.
“We just installed a clearance system at the airport called MIDAS. MIDAS is a system that does not allow border entry until we take your biometric.
“So we want to assure Nigerians that it is not every African that will collect the visa at the point of entry, only those who are coming for business and a short visit.
“If you are coming for employment, you will pick it up at the embassy and when we give you a short time, we now have a mechanism that can monitor when the time expires,” he said.
In December, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that Africans would get visas-on-arrival to enter the country from January 2020 to encourage free movement of people.