South Africa is prepared to relax its immigration restrictions to encourage a boosted economic relationship with Nigeria.
The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, has reported his administration’s choice to initiate the issuance of 5-year visas to Nigerian experts, businessmen and other regular fliers.
Talking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos Wednesday, Munguni said his administration was currently arranged to wipe out the troubles typically confronted by Nigerians when looking for South African visas.
The diplomat also said his government was moving away from having political diplomacy to more of economic diplomacy with Nigeria. “There has been growing concerns from both Nigeria and South Africa on the issue of visas. There have been complaints by Nigerians on how they are treated when seeking visas,” he said.
“Our president has indicated that Nigeria and South Africa need to intervene by making it easier for our nationals to have visas to our two countries.
“We came to an agreement that business people and frequent fliers between South Africa and Nigeria will qualify for long-term visas of two, three, and five years. We have totally moved from political diplomacy to economic diplomacy. And to promote this new economic diplomacy, there needs to be a smooth movement of people between our two countries.”
Mnguni said he had made a proposition to his Government for the enrollment of more staff, in order to have the capacity to quickly take care of the interest of Nigerians for visas to South Africa.
“We need a friendship that resides with our people. Nigeria and South Africa need to criticise each other in a constructive way,” he said.
South Africa is one of the main destinations for Nigerians who travel abroad. As at 2013, there were more than 250,000 Nigerians dwelling in the nation.
“We need to look at how we can unplug some of the irritants that have undermined our cohesion.”