Nigeria and Namibia have agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual benefit not only to the two countries but the entire African continent.
The agreed mechanism for achieving this is through a meeting of the Joint Commission which will be held early next year (2020).
This was the crux of deliberations at the end of a meeting in Windhoek, between the visiting Nigerian delegation led by the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama and the Namibian Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and other Namibian Ministers.
Mr. Onyeama said, “we addressed recent issues regarding the issuance of visas to Namibians and Nigerians and entry into Namibia for Nigerians and reached very important and concrete agreements in respect to this.
“Any Namibian wishing to obtain a visa to Nigeria can apply and would be considered as was the case in the past.
“Once the requirements are met satisfactorily, such a person will be issued a visa. Same applies to a Nigerian wishing to go to Namibia.”
‘No visa denial’
The meeting also agreed that any visa denial or deportation will not be stamped in the holders’ passport.
Furthermore, consular meetings will be held quarterly to assess how things are progressing.
Mr. Onyeama also disclosed that Nigeria is moving towards a “visa on arrival” regime as part of the policy of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in Nigeria, stating that “on line applications will facilitate that but it is still a work in progress.”
He also observed that over the years Nigeria has engaged with Namibia through the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) which is “one mechanism through which we support countries by sending out our brightest young professionals in various fields, Medical, Educational among others depending on the needs of the country, for a period of time.”
Mr. Onyeama further reiterated his belief that the partnership being forged through the Joint Commission can “transform the lives of our peoples in the framework of the 2063 Agenda of the African Union (AU) and the 2030 Sustainable Development goals of the UN.”
The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed happiness over what he described as the “rare privilege of speaking with the President of Namibia on phone.
“He was extremely gracious to welcome me and my delegation and expressed solidarity to the people of Nigeria. This again is testament of the strong bond that exists between our two countries and the huge respect we have for each other.”
Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Namibia was established March 2, 1990 following the Namibia’s attainment of independence.
Since then, relations have been warm and cordial between the two countries owing to the role Nigeria played during Namibia’s liberation struggle with the provision of financial, material and logistical support for SWAPO.
In recognition of these contributions, Nigeria was recognised as a frontline State despite her geographical location and in 2008, the City of Windhoek renamed the street where the Nigeria High Commission is located, to General Murtala Mohammed Avenue.
Nigeria also participated in the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) that midwifed Namibia’s independence.
At the end of this operation, the Nigeria police was requested to remain behind and help build the new Namibian police.