Foreign Affairs Minister says Canada should speed up the process of issuing Nigerians visa.
Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, has protested against the withholding of passports during the process of the issuance of Canadian visa, which takes a minimum of 45 working days to process.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja, Mr. Ashiru described the delay as “unacceptable.” He called for a review of the timeframe for the issuance of visas, adding that the current timeframe is too long.
Mr. Ashiru had earlier spoken to the Canadian High Commissioner, Chris Cooter, over the issue. The minister suggested the use of photocopied passport data page rather than holding applicant’s passport during the waiting period.
“Rather than holding on to visa applicant’s passports, the Mission should make do with photocopies of the data pages and to sight the passports’’
“Thereafter, the passports can be surrendered to the Mission only at the point of the issuance of visas,”’
“This will allow passport holders the opportunity to use their passports for other travels, pending the approval of their visa applications by the Canadian Mission,” Mr. Ashiru said.
The minister, who stressed the cordial relations between Nigeria and Canada, said the Bi-National Commission between the two countries had paved the way for deepened relations, especially in the economic sector.
In his response, Mr. Cooter pledged to report the concerns expressed by Mr. Ashiru to the appropriate authorities in Ottawa.
Canada and Nigeria have maintained diplomatic relations for over 50 years and have also cooperated closely in multilateral forums, particularly through providing peacekeeping support in Sudan.
Nigeria is Canada’s largest bilateral merchandise trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.