The Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey, IIyasu Paragalda has explained the reason why the Turkish Government has increased its visa fee to Nigerian citizens from $52 to $250.
Amb. Paragalda said that a Nigerian company called Online Integrated Service (OIS), with the permission of the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Ministry of Interior, opened an office in Turkey as a visa collecting centre.
The envoy gave the explanation recently in Istanbul, where he stated that OIS, in order to make plenty of money for itself, decided to hike up the visa fee from $52 to $250 to Turkish citizens, and in reciprocity, the Turkish authorities also decided to increase their own fee to the same amount.
He said, “The Embassy is doing something about it. But first, let me tell you what happened why they are charging $250. Two years ago, their visa fee was just N11, 000.
“In 2016, there was a Nigerian company called Online Integrated Services (OIS), which opened an office in Turkey as a visa collecting centre. Now, there operations, because of service charges, catapulted the Nigerian visa from $52 to $250. I was told that OIS has an agreement with the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Ministry of Interior to sort out visas on behalf of the Nigerian Embassy.
“They now put up their administrative fee of almost $180. So, the Turkish people complained but unfortunately, our embassy here then couldn’t solve the issue. In reciprocity, they now in January, 2017 scaled up their visa fee to $250.
In a bid to address the diplomatic spat, Paragalda disclosed that he has shut down the operations of OIS and has also returned the Nigerian visa fee to $52, asking the Turkish government to, as a matter of reciprocity, revert its own visa fee to the initial amount.
“Now, when I came here last year (2017), I discussed with them and I now took measures to address the issue. One, I asked the company to close services. Apparently, they were making $180 on each applicant, and they were paying $52 to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“So, the Federal Government really wasn’t getting anything from them, apart from the outcome of their services, which has now made Nigerians in their thousands to be paying that $250. So, I asked them to shut down, Now, I also took steps by writing to the Turkish Government that now these people don’t operate again, and Nigerian visa is $52. It is being paid online, so you have to reduce your own visa fee to $52, so that there will be more movements between the two peoples.
“I have engaged the Turkish Ministry Of Foreign Affairs to challenge them to go online and see that the Nigerian visa fee is now $52 in any part of the world. Now, I have written to them that if by the end of this month, they have not reverted back to $52, I will also increase Nigerian visa to $250.
But this is not the best for us because I have more than 15, 000 Nigerian students here in Turkey. We don’t have up to 15, 000 Turkish citizens in Nigeria,” he added.
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