The United Kingdom has aborted its plan to place a £3,000 bond on Nigerians seeking entry to the country, a spokesman for Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Ministry told Daily Trust in Abuja on Monday.
The Sunday Times of London had quoted UK Home Secretary Theresa May as saying that a pilot scheme that would target visitors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Ghana would take off in November under which travellers from those countries would pay a cash deposit of £3,000 to deter immigration abuse. They will forfeit the money if they overstay their visas.
But when contacted for comments yesterday, spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Abuja, Mr Ode Ogbole, replied with text message saying: "It's been rescinded". He did not give further details and did not answer subsequent telephone calls.
Another official of the ministry who chose to remain anonymous also told Daily Trust that a message from the UK government rescinding the plan had been sent to the Presidency.
Earlier yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Olugbenga Ashiru told journalists at the ministerial platform commemorating the mid-term anniversary of the Jonathan administration that no official communication had been received from the British government by Nigeria on the subject.
He assured Nigerians of government's readiness to defend and protect them all over the world but urged them to always conduct themselves in a manner that will portray Nigeria in good image.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has described the proposed UK entry bond as discriminatory and unacceptable.
"This is totally discriminatory and unacceptable. It is targeted to non-white Commonwealth. We would take a critical look at the policy as it affects Nigerians and come up with a way forward," committee chairman Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (PDP Abia) said in a statement.
"We agreed totally with the UK Foreign Minister that the policy is totally unworkable and impractical. It is contrary to the commitment made to our President by David Cameron during their last meeting. We believe it is for political reason ahead of general election. We seek that our long historical relationship should take precedence over political expediency," Ukeje said.