Nigeria and South Africa have reached an agreement on issuing 10-year visas to businessmen, academics and frequent travellers.
The decision followed the successful conclusion of the 9th Bi-National Commission of South Africa and Nigeria meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, which was elevated to the level of heads of state of both countries.
A statement issued on Friday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, said the agreement was reached during a meeting co-chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
Shehu said this was the first time both Presidents would preside since the elevation of the Bi-National Commission.
He said, “The decision was taken to encourage more people-to-people contacts among citizens of both countries and further strengthen socio-cultural, economic and political relations.
“At the meeting held at the Union Buildings, Presidential Palace of South Africa, the two presidents agreed on early warning signals to nip violence in the bud before it escalates, while taking into consideration the need to share more intelligence and promote stronger partnership in security.
“Both countries also agreed to re-establish the consular forum, which is a structured arrangement where both governments meet regularly, at least twice in a year, to discuss the welfare of citizens.
“The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, signed the minutes of the 9th session of the Bi-National Commission.”
Meanwhile, while visiting Pretoria to improve relations between Nigeria and South Africa following xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans, President Buhari urged Nigerians living in South Africa not to forget home.
He described as embarrassing the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and foreigners by South Africans, urging Nigerians in the Diaspora to always remember their country with skills, resources and talents.
President Buhari also called on Nigerians to be law-abiding and respect the authorities of other countries, saying “the few that sometimes give us a bad name should to desist from such misdemeanours and be our good ambassadors.”
Members of the Nigerian community thanked the President for the visit, assuring him that they would be more careful of their dealings within the country and work towards harmony at all times.
The leaders of the various Nigerian communities in South Africa, led by Ben Okoli, commended Chief Allen Onyeama (Air Peace CEO), for freely evacuating Nigerians in South Africa during the recent xenophobic attacks.