The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has confirmed that Nigeria is set to sign a Visa-free deal with 8 African countries.
The announcement of the visa-free deal was made during a conference in Abuja to mark one year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Although the Foreign Minister hasn’t disclosed the eight countries, he regardless gave a speech concerning the need to booster inter-African trade. The minister also hopes that this new development will foster economic relations among the countries.
“Africa is the centre piece of our foreign policy but it is a paradox that as a Nigerian, you cannot go to an African country without a visa unlike what is obtainable in Western Europe.
“To address this as a leader in the continent, the country is at a point of introducing an initiative to promote African trade as part of the country’s foreign policy of Africa as the centrepiece”, he said.
The Minister added that Nigeria is looking to influence a procedure that would lead to something similar to the western European Schengen Agreement which allows members of the Schengen to move easily among these countries without the need for a visa.
“We want to start with about eight countries or see if they come up as a group of eight countries. At the presidential level, they agreed to that, and signed up to free movement.
“If we can achieve that within a year, then other countries may want to join and we believe this is a better way to go than institutional ECOWAS etc, as countries take so long to ratify agreements.
“We believe we can just start off, eight countries and they agree among themselves, then others will come in,” he said.
Minister Onyeama also mentioned that the Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as the Ministry of Industry will be working towards making Nigeria business-friendly.