The Comptroller, Nigerian Immigration Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Mr. Dikko Yashe, has commended the Ease of Doing Business policy of the federal government, saying that it has boosted foreign investment in the country.
Yashe said investors who found it very difficult in the past to come to Nigeria due to visa hurdles have benefitted from the policy, which makes it easy for them to come and do business in the country.
He made this known in Lagos recently, during a ceremony organised for retirees and presentation of awards of excellence for deserving officers of the Command.
According to Yashe, since the policy was introduced in 2017, it had further improved the visa-on-arrival policy of the government as more potential investors visit the country more regularly without the rigours of visiting the embassies.
He emphasised that the airport command had keyed into the policy of Mr. Mohammed Babandede, the Comptroller General of NIS by reducing the contacts of its officers with travellers.
He explained further that on the average, the command issues 150 visas for travellers weekly, stressing that most of the travellers preferred the new policy to the former.
Yashe, however, pointed out that some of the travellers don’t want for the approval of the Comptroller-General of Immigration for their visa applications before embarking on journeys to Nigeria, stressing that in the past 10 months, no fewer than 278 foreigners had been sent back from the Lagos Airport for lack of entry visas into the country.
He said: “I know that visa-on-arrival policy has tremendously increased travellers through the Lagos Airport Command. On the average, we issue about 150 visas on arrival or more, it depends on the influx of passengers.
“We observe that most of our passengers prefer to get their visas on arrival, but the challenge we have is that some of the passengers don’t wait for approval from the CG. That is why we keep on returning people.
“Within my few months at the airport, I have returned over 278 people without visas in the past 10 months.”
On retirees, he said 13 officers of different cadres retired from the command in recent time, while other seven officers were recognised for discharging their duties professionally.
He urged the recipients of the awards to continue to be professional in their duties and challenged others to emulate their conducts.
Yashe insisted the service would not promote mediocrity among its officers, rather would reward hard work and dedication.
“What we are doing is what the CG wants. If the leadership is transparent, you expect the followership to follow suit. So, that is the key success and we have a very good synergy with other security agencies and other key stakeholders in the aviation industry. We do our best to minimise interface with passengers as directed by our Comptroller-General. That has really helped in sanitising our airports, improve relationship and I am proud of that.
“We know it is not easy to start a career and end it either at the mandatory age of 60 or 35 years in service. Some of our colleagues died along the line. It is a thing of join that that they are alive to receive their honours themselves and not through any next-of-kin.
“I am also happy that two of my officers at the MMIA Command were recognised by award of excellence. The recipients represent the whole command. The awards are for them as individual, but it was for us collectively. I am indeed proud of all of them.”
Also commenting at the occasion, Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Mr. Udeje Usman (rtd), who acted as the Chairman of the day, commended the conducts of officers of the command.
He said that since the Merit of Service Award was inaugurated by Babandede some few years back, at least an officer from the Lagos Airport Command had been nominated for the award annually, stressing that despite the volatility of the command, officers posted there had displayed high sense of professionalism.
He enjoined them to continue to be professional and civil when dealing with travelers and lauded Yashe for instilling discipline among the officers of the command.