The Former Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mrs Nkoyo Toyo has condemned the removal of reciprocity travel fees paid by Nigerian and United States nationals.
Amb. Toyo regretted the action, saying that, that singular action would affect economic, political and social lives of the two countries.
Speaking to ND REPORTERS in Calabar on Friday via phone on the removal of reciprocity fees on travels by both countries (Nigeria/United States), Amb Toyo said, “It is a standard international practice for the other country to retaliate as a deterrent for some arbitrary action or another by one country.
“In this case, Nigeria was first to apply a certain fee for visa application and the US decided to follow. Unfortunately for us, the share number of applicants that are turned down at the US embassy and the monies they generate for the Embassy is enough to run their business in Nigeria and some other African countries” Amb Toyo stated.
She said if anything, Nigeria should use its visa application protocol to attract business owners and investors and not deter them. Similarly, the tons of applications received annually are a huge source of funds for the US.
“On the Nigerian side, the story is very different as Americans coming to Nigeria and doing business here are not that large. I really do not know what the fees was targeted at. It is possible that the embassy assumed that for those coming to Nigeria to do business, they are in a position to afford any fees and so it did not matter.
“However, the message did not go down well with the US and they retaliated. These are matters of bilateral relations and as is the case now, once Nigeria rescind their position, the US will follow suit.
“The other reason you can read into things like this is some level of hostility over something. I am not suggesting I know of any problem between both countries but it’s not unusual for countries to harden their stance towards each other, to draw attention to something that is probably hurting one party at another level.
“I think we may have to look beyond the surface.”
The United States government has announced the removal of visa reciprocity fee for the non immigrant visa categories or any visa class for Nigerian nationals effective December 3, 2020.