Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, has stated that government will reciprocate travel bans and restrictions on Nigeria by any country.
Babandede was reacting to the inclusion of Nigeria by the US to its list of countries with visa restrictions.
In February 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a new visa policy for the country which provides for three categories of visas: short visit, temporary, and permanent residence and 79 visa types.
Babandede in a chat with newsmen, said the new visa policy is reciprocal in nature, adding that like the US, Nigeria has the right to dictate who it allows in or restricts entry.
“I can tell you that US is a country, it is a nation like Nigeria. They have the right to restrict who will enter their territory or not, just as we can restrict US citizen or whomsoever from entering.”
“So they have the right, but I want people to know that Visa restriction is not a Visa ban, it is a ban for people who want to take residency not people who want to go for short visits.
“You are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari just launched a new visa policy for Nigeria, the visa policy has 79 classes of visa. So, we will be in a position to say to countries, if you allow us for short visits we will allow you for short visits and if you stop us from other visits, we do the same, because the new visa policy is based on reciprocity.
“So, we will test this for a year and see those who reciprocate and we take actions for those who do otherwise,” Babandede said.
Speaking on his management of the agency, the CG said he has been able to execute projects with transparency.
He said when he assumed office, he made it a duty to inaugurate two new command buildings so that the agency could act independently without any interference.
“When I came on board, I was really ashamed to find Immigration office, especially commands been kept in federal secretariat, we are law enforcement agency, we ought not to be in a Federal Secretariat. So i made a commitment to myself that every year, I want to commission two new buildings commands,” he said.