Asaba 2018: Failure to Pay for Visa on Arrival Delayed Athletes…

first_imgOgba: Some of the countries failed to notify the LOC their arrival datesChinedu EzeThe inability to pay for visa on arrival was responsible for the delay of some athletes billed for the 21st African Athletics Championship in Asaba, Delta State.Many of the athletes arrived Nigeria Monday but could not report to Asaba in time for the kick-off of the tournament on Wednesday. Majority of the athletes affected were from Kenya and Burundi who, along with their officials, could not raise the money to pay for visa when they arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) source has revealed.The new policy of visa on arrival, which is part of federal government’s plan to ease the process of doing business in the country enabled the athletes to come to Nigeria without obtaining Nigerian visa in their various countries.THISDAY checks further revealed that the Local Organising Committee (LOC) was supposed to make arrangements for their easy passage into Nigeria through online visa payment before their arrival, but it failed to do this, which led to their delay at the Lagos Airport.The Immigration source in Abuja also disclosed to THISDAY that a lot of the athletes ought to have processed their visas online and make payments before arriving Nigeria, but failed to so, a situation, which led to their temporary delay at the airport.The Immigration source at MMIA insisted that the Command did not seize any of the athletes’ passports, but only collected them for issuance of sticker Visas on their passports, which was necessary for them to enter the country.At the Lagos airport, it was gathered that the technical partner of Immigration, New Works had to issue each athlete ID and reference number, an exercise that was cumbersome and caused delay due to poor internet connectivity.The visa was embossed after payment was made to NIS.“A lot of them came in at once and none of them could pay for visa on arrival, which is a policy of the federal government. As you know, we don’t collect cash at Immigration any longer. The local organising committee was not able to make the payment because it did not make enough preparation towards their arrival into Nigeria. They all came at once and New Works, which is our technical partner, had to generate ID and reference number for each and every one of them to make the payment easier,” the source said.But the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Championship, Solomon Ogba said Thursday in Asaba that most of the countries failed to notify the organizers on when they were going to arrive in Lagos as agreed at the final inspection meeting that had a fortnight ago.“If the teams (country) had given us their arrival schedules, we would have known were they would be arriving. This is Africa, people who cannot provide for you when they come, they’ll want to attack because they see Nigeria as a big brother,” he observed at a media parley in Asaba yesterday.The LOC boss, however, apologized to both the local and foreign journalists covering the championships for the hiccups observed at the start of the event.He also debunked the rumour that Tanzania pulled out of Asaba 2018.“They never expressed intention to be part of the African championships in the first place; having been absent at the Delegation Registration Meeting,” he concluded.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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