Namibia High Commission, as part of engagements to improve passengers and cargo services for the country’s national carrier, Air Namibia, has opened a visa processing office in Lagos, Nigeria to ease the process of procuring visa for travellers to the country.
At the Air Namibia Business Aviation Forum held yesterday (Monday) in Ikeja, Lagos, the Namibia High Commission stated that the visa processing office in Lagos was opened after enquiries and research which pointed to the fact that over 60% of air travellers abode Air Namibia reside around Lagos and its environs.
The commission is also seeking better partnership with Nigeria and Lagos in particular for business, education, tourism as well as other areas of mutual benefits for both countries.
Speaking the event themed, “Namibia is Open For Business”, the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Humphrey Geiseb gave the insight of his country’s plans for what it is venturing into.
According Geiseb, “our decision therefore to open a visa processing centre in Lagos, in partnership with Air Namibia, is a strategic move aimed at easing the burden of having to travel to Abuja before getting a visa thereby further boosting diplomatic ties and trade relations between Nigeria and Namibia, and offering choices as well as easy access to our highly esteemed visitors and would-be investors.”
Geiseb said opportunities exists in investment for both local and international markets.
“The government is seeking to attract foreign investors to participate in public private partnerships (PPP), particularly in the health, transportation and housing sectors. A law to facilitate PPP was passed in 2017 and implementation is ongoing.”
“Discerning Nigerians who love to relax and those willing to invest can take advantage of the many tourist attractions and investment opportunities that abound across the country,” he said.
Also speaking, the acting general manager of Air Namibia, Mr. Wimpe Van Vauren said that the airline has been around for 70 years, having metamorphosed from South West Airline and has continued to grow and develop. He stated that this was made possible with the support of the government of Namibia.
He added, ”We have about 2.4 million population, and had 1.6 million tourists in the year 2018, that is over 50% of the population and Air Namibia is playing a significant role, in connecting and promoting tourism, travel, cargo, business.”
He stated that since 29 July, 2018 when the airline started operations in Nigeria, Namibia has always been giving back to Nigeria by making sure that all the handlers of the airline and the general sales agents are Nigerians.
Its part of our plans to give back, Vauren added.
”Air Namibia is small enough to care, and large enough to get you there. And we are the extremely well-positioned as the gate way to the South African region. We are not vultures, we want to establish a relationship, we want to establish a joint venture. We are not just projecting Nigeria, we are equally projecting Nigerians too. Our first flight to Nigeria was fully booked and could not even give tickets to our dignitaries. We were full with people from Southern region and this continued for the next three months.”
On the issue of naturalisation, the public relation officer – home affairs and immigration, Ms Salome Kambala, stated that Namibia is not in a hurry to passports to because they discovered that some marriages are scam. However, the country, which she described as a land of open spaces, supports permanent residency with initial intention of visit being put into consideration.
Steve Ayorinde, the Commissioner of Tourism in Lagos State who represented the Lagos State governor, welcomed the development but quick to state that the country’s officials equally needed to look into visa-on-arrival towards boosting their figures as well as online visas.
“Visa-on-arrival is the way to go now, that is the way to trust people and to empower people. At the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), it is working for 15/16 West African countries,” he advised.