Visa Appointments in Nigeria: British Embassy Now Setting Pace!
From a CNG Member, Lagos.
July 10, 2006
JUST two years ago, the British Embassy in Nigeria was allegedly one of the hotbeds of operation for visa racketeers, touts and social miscreants whose chosen main job was nothing but extortion of money from common Nigerians who were seeking visas to the United Kingdom. Many members of our group, the ConcernedNigerians, were amongst thousands of Nigerians who were ripped of thousands of naira each by these middlemen' before being granted visa interviews. And of course, most of them were denied visas despite the enormous expenses they had incurred.
It was speciously practically impossible for a common Nigerian to secure visa interview appointment then with the British Embassy without going through these scofflaws (locally known as 'area boys'). Each visa applicant reportedly had to part with average of twenty five thousand naira in-order to secure an otherwise free visa interview's appointment with the UK embassy. The experiences of our members prompted series of responses from us, including an article that was published at the ConcernedNigerians' website in January 2004.
The British Embassy responded positively to the ConcernedNigerians' protest. We are happy to announce that the era of the 'area boys' is now over in the British visa application's processing in Nigeria. Effective from March, 2006, the British embassy in Nigeria now implements a lasting solution that effectively eliminates the illegal roles of visa touts in the UK visa processing in Nigeria. Any one in Nigeria can now secure British visa at the official price without having to bribe or go through any racketeer.
The British embassy diplomats in Nigeria, for the first time in the recent history of visa processing in Nigeria, are giving the citizens of Nigeria the due reverential treatment accorded other reputable nationals around the world. Ordinary citizen of Nigeria can now secure British visas in Nigeria without having to attend visa interview, whether such applicant is a first timer or not. This is the type of treatment visa applicants enjoy in other countries like the United States, Canada and so forth, where all the visa applicants have do in order to be issued visas is mailing their passports and supporting documents to the respective embassies of the countries they wish to travel to. The first time travelling Nigerians never enjoyed this type of treatment before now at the embassies of UK or other developed nations in Nigeria. The first time visa applicants in Nigeria used to have to take long ques and attend hours of interviews irrespective of whether such visas would be granted or not. The aforesaid solution that British embassy finally proferred in addressing the visa application menaces that had been plaquing visa applicants in Nigeria before now is highly commendable. This gallant step now makes us, the ConcernedNigerians, believe that the Britons are now treating Nigerians with the deserved mutual respect that Nigerians accord the Britons.
Please join us in saying kudos to the British Diplomats in Nigeria for this laudable service to the Nigerians. We advise other embassies in Nigeria to borrow a leaf from this pacesetting act of the British Embassy.