The Senate on Tuesday rejected the policy of President Muhammadu Buhari which gives all African travellers visas on arrival from January – suspending the necessary requirement that they apply in advance.
The Senate said with the uprising of insecurity, it was premature for the President to take the decision because it will aid influx of terrorists in the country.
Consequently, the Senate has summoned the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola to appear before it, alongside the Comptroller General of immigration, to explain the legality, logistics and technicality of the free visa agreement.
President Muhammadu Buhari had signed an African free trade zone treaty and recently backed it with a free visa policy to enable free movement of African nationals into the country. He said the policy is aimed at fostering investments into the country.
But Nigerian Senators are peeved that the said visa agreement does not have any legal backing and that it is not domesticated.
The rejection of the policy followed a motion by Senator Adetunbi Olubunmi (Elitist North) which urged the Senate to reject the visa policy.
When the motion was presented in plenary on Tuesday, lawmakers took turns to fault Buhari for taking such an injurious decision.
Senate minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe in his submission said with the rising crime wave in the country, if such a free visa policy is not quickly reversed, criminals and terrorists will troop the country and make it more insecure.
For Senators Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East) and Ibikunle Amosun, they agreed that the policy will enhance economic growth, but insisted that before the treaty would be perfected, the President should contact National Assembly for proper legislation by way of sending to the Senators the Immigration Act for amendment and domestication.
However, Senator Barau Jibrin had an opposing view to the submissions of the Senators who rejected the policy. He said the policy announced by Buhari is a global trend, and should not in anyway be faulted.
In his ruling, Ahmad Lawan threw the matter to vote and majority of Senators voted against the policy.
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