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Nigeria Update: Guidelines for Visa Re-validation and Migrant Travels

Lynn Mackenzie, J.D., LLM

Courtesy of  Advocaat Law Practice

Upon resumption of international flights in Nigeria on September 5, 2020, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) issued guidelines for visa revalidation and migrant travels affected by the suspension of international flights and closure of airspace. The guidelines provide as follows:

  1. All migrants in Nigeria, whose Permit expired between March 23, 2020 to September 5, 2020 will upon presentation of their confirmed return tickets, be granted a free extension to enable them to depart the country on, or before September 15, 2020.
  2. All migrants in Nigeria, whose Permit or Visitors’ pass expired before March 23, 2020 will pay overstay penalty for the number of days stayed before the suspension of international flights and border closure, which commenced on March 23, 2020.
  3. All resident migrants whose residence permits expired, while outside the country from March 23, 2020 shall be allowed entry into Nigeria with the expired permit on or before September 25, 2020. These returning migrants are required to renew their residence permit within thirty (30) days of their arrival in Nigeria to avoid sanctions under the relevant Immigration laws.
  4. All migrants who processed payments for Visa on Arrival (VOA) and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before March 23, 2020 are to apply for revalidation. A copy of the previous payment must be sent to; Cisevisa@immigration.gov.ng no later than September 15, 2020.
  5. All migrants who obtained VOA pre-approval Letters and other categories of visas from the Nigerian Missions before March 23, 2020, whose approvals/visas expired before September 5, 2020, are to also apply for revalidation. The revalidation process requires that copies of the expired pre-approval letters/visas be sent to cis-evisa@immigration.gov.ng not later than September 15, 2020. These categories of migrants will not be required to make fresh payments.
  6. VOA and e-Visa payment portals have been activated to enable intending migrants to Nigeria process entry visas as from September 5, 2020.
  7. Migrants who have obtained Temporary Work Permit (TWP) approval addressed to Missions that are closed for visa issuance should submit a complaint through cisevisa@immigration.gov.ng. The NIS will, upon receipt of the complaint, revert with appropriate options for visa issuance.
  8. All intending passengers are required to register via a Nigerian International Travel Portal online accessed through https://nitp.ncdc.gov.ng/onboarding/guidelines.
  9. While on the portal, passengers are required to complete the ‘Health Declaration/SelfReporting’ form, upload COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test conducted in the country of departure and make payment for a repeat PCR test to be done upon arrival in Nigeria, with the options of where and when to carry out the test.

The content of this article is provided for general information purposes. The provision of this article does not constitute legal advice or opinion of any kind; no advisory or fiduciary relationship is created between Relocation Africa and any other person accessing or using this article. Relocation Africa will not be liable for any damages or loss arising from using any part of this article.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Nigerian Government Shifts Resumption of International Flights to September 5

The Federal Government of Nigeria recently announced a shift in the resumption of international flights to September 5.

According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the federal government postponed the resumption date, earlier fixed for Saturday, because of its inability to put in place non-aviation logistics for flights resumption.

The government has also said it has deployed a Gene Expert machine at the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada (UATH) to reduce the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis to one hour.

It has also unveiled two transparency dashboards to enhance accountability in national COVID-19 response.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had said international airports in the country would reopen effective August 29 to resume international flight operations.

But at a press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja, NCAA Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said there were non-aeronautical logistics that needed to be put in place before the country’s airspace could be reopened to international flights.

He said: “Since the announcement by the honourable minister of aviation a few weeks ago that international flights will resume anytime from 29th of August, the aviation sector has worked assiduously to be ready for this date.

“The aviation sector, including the airports, is ready to resume on the 29th. However, we have other non-aviation logistics we are still working on mostly to do with the COVID-19 protocols, tests and online platforms. We need to get this in place so that we will have a smooth and efficient resumption of international flights without difficulties for all the passengers.

“So, for this reason, unfortunately, I have to let you know that the resumption date has been shifted by one week to the 5th of September, which is now a sacrosanct date. “The initial announcement was anytime from August 29. Now we have fixed a date – 5th of September- ensure that resumption of international flights.

“In due course, once these logistics are done, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumption and also we will be giving further details on the principle of reciprocity we have mentioned. So, hopefully, early next week, we will release this.”

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also said the federal government had deployed a Gene Expert machine in the National Hospital Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, to shorten the turnaround time for COVID-19 diagnosis.

He said with the new development, cases of suspected COVID-19 emergencies could now be diagnosed on-site, thereby “reducing the turnaround and waiting time to one hour.”

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Relocation Africa Nigerian Immigration Interview With Kunle Obebe

Lynn Mackenzie, our Immigration Lead, recently had the privilege of interviewing Ola Alokolaro, from Advocaat Law, about Cameroon and Sierra Leone’s immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Ola’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.

Kunle’s bio

Kunle is recognized as the foremost Nigerian lawyer in immigration, employment and labor matters and is frequently sought after as local counsel for large international companies. He is said to be the “the first port of call” and has a “long standing reputation” in the market (Who’s Who Legal – Nigeria 2014).

Kunle advises multi-national corporations, Fortune 500 companies, high net-worth individuals and Nigerian companies on issues relating to regulatory compliance with particular reference to expatriate and Nigerian employee work authorization in and out of Nigeria and corporate and commercial law.

He is a certified Global Mobility Specialist and a regular speaker at Nigerian and international conferences/seminars on regulatory compliance and emerging corporate immigration issues in Nigeria.

He is the Managing Partner and Chair of the firm’s Dispute Resolution, Immigration and Employment & Labour Practice Groups at Bloomfield Law Practice.

 

We would like to say a huge thank you to Kunle for his insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].  

Nigeria to Reopen Airports for International Flights From 29 August

Nigeria will reopen its airports for international flights from Aug. 29, its aviation minister said on Monday.

The airports have been closed since March 23 to all but essential international flights as part of the country’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said four flights would begin landing daily in Lagos, and four in Abuja, with strict protocols. He did not say where they would be coming from.

“It is safe to fly, if we observe all those protocols in place,” Sirika said at a briefing in Abuja.

Africa’s most populous nation, which recorded its first confirmed coronavirus case in late February, now has 49,068 confirmed cases and 975 deaths.

It resumed domestic flights on July 8 and Sirika said there had been no confirmed virus transmissions on flights.

Passengers on international flights will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test in order to board and pay for another test after they arrive in Nigeria, Sirika said. They will also be required to fill in an online health questionnaire and present it to authorities when they land.

Those currently returning to Nigeria aboard repatriation flights are required to self-quarantine for 14 days, and authorities retain passports for that period. Sirika said on Monday they could “gradually” stop keeping passengers’ passports.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Lagos: What Does it Need to Keep Growing?

By Eromo Egbejule, courtesy of The Africa Report.

Known for its traffic snarls and entrepreneurial dynamism, Lagos is a megalopolis with mega-needs.

Nigeria’s smallest state is also its most populous. The country’s top economic performer, Lagos is bursting at the seams as more people arrive in search of opportunity, creating demand for roads and electricity, amongst other things.

Long seen as a bastion of the opposition, Lagos has not received the investment that it needs to grow in a well-planned way, despite the fact that it generates more tax revenue per capita than any other Nigerian state.

Lagos’s population swelled to more than 20 million in 2019. This number is projected to double by 2050, and the mega-city’s problems could equally double.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu of President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) became governor of Lagos State in May 2019. With Lagos sorely needing solutions to combat its infrastructure problems, he unveiled the Lagos Innovation Master Plan and also announced a N250m ($685,000) tech fund for research and development in the state in December 2019.

The master plan seeks to make Lagos a ‘smart’ city and to provide the foundation for the growing tech sector based in Yaba to grow.

Planning priorities

In his 2019 inauguration speech as Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu named transportation, power, health and education as priorities for his term. As part of its plan to increase commuter options, Sanwo-Olu’s government has announced that the first phase of the light rail network will be operational in 2021.

Bids for the long-touted 38km-long 4th Mainland Bridge to connect both island and mainland districts also opened in December 2019. But experts say the government still needs to take innovative approaches to addressing the major infrastructural challenges.

“For example, sewage will require a decentralised approach focused on empowering the local government system […] and providing community sewers,” says the University of Lagos’s Taibat Lawanson. “Mass transit will require a more centralised approach that is private sector-led, albeit supported with government subsidies.”
Transportation minister and former governor Babatunde Fashola, whose stint as power minister failed to bridge the energy deficit, initiated five independent power projects (IPPs) to boost the power supply to government establishments.

A sixth, 12MW one was switched on at the Lekki Free Trade Zone. Keen to make his own mark, Akinwunmi Ambode set up the Light Up Lagos initiative, which did little to boost the state’s electricity situation.
His successor has announced plans to resuscitate that initiative, beginning with a proposed partnership with Siemens and the expansion of another IPP. More IPPs could emerge, powered by Lagos’s own mini-grid using pipeline gas supply, now that it has discovered oil and gas deposits.

However, despite all its predilections for grandeur, Lagos has no proper sewage, drainage or mass transit systems, triggering complications during floods and traffic surges. Unlike the Pretoria-Gauteng metro service in South Africa, there is no interstate rail connecting the metropolis with satellite towns and the city of Ibadan, 129km away.

There is a running joke that a Lagosian can land in London after a six-hour flight in the same time it takes his neighbour to go across the mega-city on a Friday evening.

Evictions of urban poor

With tony projects like Eko Atlantic adding space to the city for the country’s richest inhabitants, Lagos’s poorer citizens argue that they are being sidelined in the city’s modernisation plans. So far, Sanwo-Olu has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors.

This January, a team of naval personnel and soldiers evicted residents of the popular Tarkwa Bay beach community. It was the latest round of recurring evictions since the 1990 exercise in the shantytown of Maroko, part of what is today’s highbrow Oniru and Lekki neighbourhoods.
The communities provided shelter for low-income earners grappling with survival in the absence of state housing programmes. Lagos has not had an efficient public housing policy since the Lateef Jakande administration (1979-1983)..

Jakande, who was also a former housing minister, supervised the building of over 30,000 housing units, mostly low-cost estates. He also initiated a metro line project that was halted by the military government that came to power in the 1983 palace coup, headed by a certain Muhammadu Buhari.

Sanwo-Olu also recently banned the use of the ubiquitous okada motorcycles and tricycles, which rose as stop-gap solutions to the endless traffic jams and dysfunctional mass transit system. This, despite public meetings with representatives of various ride-hailing start-ups.

“Both the federal and Lagos state government since 1999 have governed using a business/neoliberal model, forgetting that over 60% of the population live below the poverty line,” says Taibat Lawanson, associate professor of urban regional planning and co-director of the Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development at the University of Lagos. “The only one urban planning solution that comes to mind in which both poor and middle-class Lagosians in many parts of the city have been able to benefit is the BRT [Bus Rapid Transit] system, though it has been plagued by many challenges.”

“Lagos can’t become a mega-city by violently displacing the poor,” concurs Ugochukwu Ikeakor, a Lagos-based policy analyst. “Very soon Lekki will turn into Apapa [with the same chaos]. All thanks to Dangote refinery. We don’t have a rail line that works, our roads are in a terrible state. Lagos is a dysfunctional city and it’s not the fault of the urban poor.”

The plans for the mega-refinery highlight the need for joined-up planning at the state level so that companies and workers both have the infrastructure they need.
Since the return of democracy in 1999, Lagos has effectively been ruled by the same party – the APC, its current iteration, evolved from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Action Congress (AC). Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a political godfather and current APC national leader, won two terms between 1999 and 2007 before supporting a series of protégés as his successors.

Babatunde Fashola, now minister of works and housing, is seen as the brightest of them all. He initiated a series of projects in a bid to keep crime low during his tenure as governor (2007-2015). One publication labelled him ‘the man who tamed Nigeria’s most lawless city’.
But even he fell short in some areas: a $1.2bn, seven-line light rail project originally conceived under Tinubu in the early 2000s and initiated early in Fashola’s second term remains unfinished.

Transport commissioner Frederic Oladeinde says that more alternatives are needed:“Building more roads will not solve our problems because people will continue to buy new cars; the solution to our problems is creating more options.”

Cutting ribbons regardless

Bureaucratic and other hurdles often stop projects from making progress.

With his exit already on the cards, Akinwunmi Ambode, who had built a number of overhead bridges and intrastate access roads during his tenure (2015-2019), invited President Muhammadu Buhari to cut the ribbons for the 10-lane road to the international airport and a multi-level transport interchange just after the elections, even though both projects were still under construction.

It was the president’s second visit in a year, after the commissioning of a mega bus terminal, which has scarcely been used since.

Since Fashola’s exit as the state’s chief executive governance standards have slipped. Ahead of the 2015 general elections, party supporters were convinced that if both Lagos and Abuja could be held by the same ruling party for the first time since the return of democracy in 1999 it would be an alignment for accelerated development.

Fashola was named infrastructure minister in Buhari’s cabinet but that has failed to translate into major projects benefiting Lagos.

His gubernatorial successor Ambode’s legacy was tarnished by the spectacular fumbling of sanitation in the mega-city after awarding a multi-billion naira contract to untested company Visionscape.

It was one of a list of unforgivable sins that led party elders to rally the troops around Sanwo-Olu, another Tinubu protégé, at the party’s primaries, leading to the incumbent’s defeat.

Since Ambode lost the governorship primaries in 2018, Visionscape has been forgotten, replaced by the Lagos Waste Management Authority and its Private Sector Participation operators. But the mountain of filth in Lagos will take a while to clean up.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].