Barely 24 hours after Sahara Reporters reported the collection of $90 from foreign air travellers by the Nigerian Immigrayion Service (NIS) as Biometrics Visa-On-Arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, the command has suspended the policy.
But the service still retains the process charges of $20 it collects from foreign air travellers coming into the country.
A source close to the NIS at the Lagos Airport told SaharaReporters that the Service had to quickly suspend the $90 charge due to outcry of air travellers who insisted they were unaware of the new policy.
It was also gathered that the command had implemented the new policy for two days, June 12 and 13, but suspended it due to some knotty issues in the whole exercise.
It reintroduced it on Monday, causing chaos at the airport, before finally suspending it again later the same day.
A source at the Abuja headquarters of the Service told our correspondent that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Interior, had concessioned the two revenue points to private firms Online Integrated Service (OIS) and New Works, who many believed were incompetent.
OIS is in charge of Biometrics Visa-On-Arrival while New Works is taking care of the $20 processing.
The source claimed that rather than concentrate on training and learning from the immigration personnel, the two firms are more interested in generating revenues.
It was gathered that most of the immigration personnel were unhappy with the new policy, but had to comply with the directive.
Apart from the two, the government also concessioned out the printing of the country's international passport to a private firm, which now carries out such printing in Malaysia rather than Nigeria where it was being printed when the immigration were handling the printing.
However, another immigration source in Abuja insisted that the two charges are reciprocal. According to the source, some of the countries Nigeria intends to impose the new charges on are already collecting same charges from Nigerian travellers coming into their countries.
Some of the countries, according to the source, are United Kingdom, United States of America, South Africa, Kenya and China.
The source said: “Our officers at the Lagos Airport don’t collect any charges from any traveller. The only thing our officers do at the airport is just to profile passports of travellers and ensure that those without concrete missions do not enter our country.
“It is true that we commenced the collection of biometric charges for travellers, but the policy was suspended within two days because of inadequate publicitiy. But we are not reinventing the wheels because this thing is reciprocity. Some of these countries charge our citizens the same amount of money we intend to charge them."