The government of Ethiopia has suspended Visa on arrival for Nigerians, along with travellers from 41 other countries.
This is coming barely two weeks after the country’s flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines acquired 49 percent majority stake on the Nigeria Air project.
It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emiefele, had urged home governments of foreign airlines flying into Nigeria to reciprocate by granting equal landing opportunities to Nigerian airlines to such countries, as means of reducing the pressure for foreign exchange.
The Ethiopia government move has questioned the actual undertones of the partnership as well as Nigeria’s rule of reciprocity with regards both country’s Bilateral Air Services Agreement( BASA) as no reason has been given for this ban.
However, in a circular obtained by Vanguard from Ethiopian Airlines titled: No More Visa on Arrival for Nigerian Citizens, it stated that, country must obtain visas from the Ethiopian Embassy in Abuja before embarking on the trip.
The statement reads,” Please be informed that effective immediate No More Visa on Arrival For Nigerian Citizens. Passengers are to obtain their Visa at Ethiopian Embassey in Abuja before traveling.
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“Please note that: Passengers transiting overnight in Addis Ababa are not affected by the ban. E.g. Passengers having layover in Addis to travel the next morning to Zanzibar, Seycheles, Lusaka, Lilongwe, Harare, Cape Town, Etc are not affected by the ban and do not need transit visa for their trips.
“Thank you for choosing Ethiopian Airlines.”
Following the development, Ethiopia have scrapped Visas on Arrival for 42 other countries, many of which are African and South American countries.
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Reacting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Francisca K. Omayuli (Mrs), said the suspended issuance of “visa on arrival” to non-resident foreigners at all points of entry into the country was over security concerns and the current political situation in the country.
Omayuli asserted that the suspension applies to nationals of all countries bearing Standard Passports, who seek entry into Ethiopia and is not specifically targeted at Nigerians, as reported in some quarters.
She said that the Ethiopian authorities have explained that the measure is aimed at better border control of the movement of persons into Ethiopia in view of the ongoing armed conflict in the Northern part of the country.
According to her, the measure is said to be temporary, pending improvement in the security situation in the country and not a replacement of Ethiopia’s open visa policy.
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The statement reads, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that the Federal Government of Ethiopia has suspended issuance of ‘visa on arrival’ to non resident foreigners at all points of entry into the country, over security concerns and the current political situation in that country.
“The suspension applies to nationals of all countries bearing Standard Passports, who seek entry into Ethiopia and not specifically targeted at Nigerians, as reported in some quarters.
“The Ethiopian authorities have explained that the measure is aimed at better border control of movement of persons into Ethiopia in view of the ongoing armed conflict in the Northern part of the country. The measure is said to be temporary, pending improvement in the security situation in the country and not a replacement of Ethiopia’s open visa policy.
“Therefore, Nigerians bearing Standard Passports intending to travel to Ethiopia are by this notification advised to obtain appropriate entry visas at the Ethiopian Embassy or an electronic visa (e-visa) through the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Service (ICS) portal at www.evisa.gov.et Also, those transiting through Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to other destinations or intend to briefly stop over would require valid entry visa to enable them access hotel facilities in the city or else would be obligated to remain in the airport pending their connecting flight.
“The new temporary visa restriction measure came into effect on 29th September, 2022. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will liaise with the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and relevant Airlines to ensure that intending Nigerian travellers enroute Ethiopia are well sensitized.
“The general public is invited to take note of the new visa regime of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and be guided accordingly. In a related development, the Nigerian Government has noted the concern expressed by the Ethiopian authorities over the abuse of the country’s visa policy by some Nigerians who enter the country on tourist visas and remain even after the expiration of their visas, engaging in unwholesome activities.”
“The activities of these few elements not only tarnish the image of the country, but limit opportunities for well meaning Nigerians outside the country. Such persons are enjoined to turn a new leaf and take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Ethiopian National Security Agencies to participate in the ongoing registration of undocumented migrants to avoid unpleasant situations,” she added.