Senator Matthew Nwagwu (PDP Imo North), chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, is not happy with the proposed UK visa bond policy which seeks to
compel visitors from some countries, including Nigeria to deposit to UK immigration authority, the sum of 3,000 pounds which they would forfeit if they overstay their visits. In this interview, he said Nigeria would pay UK in her own coins at the appropriate time.
What is the position of the Senate on the proposed United Kingdom policy that seeks to force visitors to UK to deposit 3,000 pounds to their immigration authority?But as a Nigerian, I have to say that any government including the UK government has the right to make a law that will protect its interest. So it’s left to Nigeria also to make the law that will protect Nigerian citizens’ interests also.
When they inform us officially on this policy, we will sit down to study it and then respond to them officially. We will not accept it if Nigeria is branded among the countries they are targeting and we will respond to them in that order. That is what we call reciprocity. If the policy comes into effect, it’s left to Nigerians also to begin to find alternative travel destinations.
Some of our people are rushing to UK as our traditional partner, good friend and brother, if they now decide that they have had enough Nigerians for whatever reason, then, Nigerians should think whether it is worthwhile depositing the 3,000 pounds. I’m sure Nigerians would also respond on their own without anybody telling them.
Again, we have to find out why and what informed this policy if it is true and look inward. Are there things we are doing wrong and are there things we need to correct?Reports said the policy is against countries that pose security threat to the UK…If Britain is judging us like that, then, that is their own judgment.
We have many Britons, many UK people living in Nigeria and they are moving about freely and doing their businesses. At times, you want to refer to some situations in some parts of the North, and say yes, that may have been the reason they are coming up with this but Nigeria, generally, is calm and peaceful and many foreigners are here doing their work and businesses. So to classify Nigeria as one of the countries posing security threats is out of the way.Like I have said earlier, you have to look at your friend properly, to know whether he is the friend you know or not.
Britain should even be the one to properly understand Nigeria and her problems and then help us in whatever way they can. I am sure they are helping but if they impose the law on Nigeria that questions our continued relationship.You said Nigeria should begin to think of alternative travel destinations, are you saying they should stop traveling to the UK?If your friend says stop coming to my house, you have to think. If Nigerian graduates for instance want to do Masters’ course or things like that and that course is in UK, they should know that they can equally do it elsewhere, they must not go to the UK.
They should not say ‘I am going to see doctors,’ are there no doctors in other places in the world? Or you want to go and do business in the UK, would you say that particular business is not in other places in the world?Nigeria and the UK are doing well in terms of relationship but if there is a crack in that relationship, it must not be that oh, because my doctor is there, my university is there and my business is there, I must go. Well, if you must go, then you deposit the 3000 pounds they are talking about and we will stop talking about it.
If Nigerians must go there and deposit that amount, how many Nigerians can afford that amount?What do you think is really responsible for this policy?
I think they only referred to security risk, that they (visitors from Nigeria) may be security risk. Nigeria has security challenges and we are also addressing them aggressively. That is why we have our troops in Mali and some other countries, to make sure that this thing doesn’t descend on us.
That is why there are troops in several places in the North and that is why there is state of emergency in three states.