By Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) says it has issued 38,000 visas on arrival to foreigners arriving Nigeria through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, within the last 12 months.
A top official of the NIS told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos on the condition of anonymity that most of the foreigners coming into the country were investors.
The source said the investors were being attracted to Nigeria because of the Ease of Doing Business Policy put in place by the Federal Government.
NAN reports that the visa on arrival policy by Nigeria began in 2012 with Kenya and a few African countries.
The policy came into full stream with the introduction of the Ease of Doing Business policy by the Federal Government in May 2017.
“The Lagos Airport alone has issued no fewer than 38,000 visas to foreigners entering into the country between August 2017 and August 2018.
“The foreigners are predominantly from the United States, United Kingdom, China, South Africa, Kenya, India, Canada, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“We also have people from other countries, but the fact is that more people are coming to Nigeria, especially for business purposes due to the ease of doing business policy.
“So, the visa on arrival is booming investments in the country.
“Most foreigners don’t even bother to go to Nigerian Embassies abroad anymore, but will rather opt to obtain their visas upon landing at the airport,” the official said.
The source added that the foreigners were issued visas valid for one month which could be extended for another month if the need arises.
According to the source, due to the influx of the foreign visitors, the NIS will soon begin the expansion of its visa on arrival counters at the Lagos airport to accommodate their demands.
“Mr Mohammed Babandede, the Comptroller-General of NIS, has given approval for the expansion and we are waiting to receive funds to begin its implementation.
“The purpose of the expansion is to reduce delays because we sometimes have two international flights arriving simultaneously and the existing counters cannot accommodate foreigners requesting to get visas,” the official said.