With Boko Haram terrorist killing on the rise, Nigeria has been put on red alert on most countries, here is adding Zambia to the list.
Zambia has excluded Nigeria among the African and Commonwealth countries that do not require visa to enter the country. The other country also excluded in the preference list is The Gambia.
Ordinarily, Nigerians should obtain Zambian visa at the point of entry into that country but latest development indicate that Zambia authorities have changed their mind on free visa application requirements for Nigerians.
The country said in its website that Nigerian nationals and some others going to Zambia as private/ business visitors or in transit shall apply for visas at Zambian Missions abroad. It however said the nationals who come to Zambia on confirmed Government business could obtain their entry visas at Zambian Missions abroad or points of entry upon production of official invitation letters.
On realizing the Zambian stance on Nigeria, some delegates and officials including the Editor of Daily Independent, Ikechukwu Amaechi billed to attend the CNN/MultiChoice 2012 African Journalist award held in that country for the first time last weekend and who did not start their visa application early stayed back.
The Minister in charge of Zambia’s Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Given Lubinda told BusinessDay in Lusaka that Nigeria suppose to be in the preference list whose nationals will obtain visa at point of entry. “We will look into it”
Probably aware that Nigeria has been excluded from the free visa requirement until at the point of entry, Lubinda however said it is in the interest of Zambia that more Nigerians visit the country as it is through such visits that bi-lateral trade between both countries can grow. Zambia buys cotton from Nigeria.
It is not clear why friendly Zambia subjected Nigerian nationals among those countries that require visa before entering the country but sources have linked it to security challenges in Nigeria at the moment.
Few months ago, South Africa deported some Nigerians on the excuse of fake yellow fever documents an action Nigeria retaliated before peace was achieved.
The Boko Haram insurgence, the Islamic fundamentalist movement that has in the last two years unleashed terror and fears on Nigerians and killed over 700 people through bomb attacks has especially put Nigeria on spotlight. This senseless attack is the group’s attempt to stop Western education and impose Sharia in the Northern part of Nigeria.
The question of Nigeria’s image especially in the face of recent international humiliations has been resurfacing in various fora with speakers expressing dissatisfaction with the present state of Nigeria as a brand.