Ethiopia has announced that it has stopped issuing visas on arrival to Nigeria and 41 other countries with immediate effect.
This was contained in an email Ethiopian Airlines sent to its Nigerian travel partners, thus confirming the stoppage of the visa-on-arrival policy for the country’s citizens, but was silent on why the government changed its policy for Nigerians.
This is coming barely two weeks after Ethiopian Airlines acquired 49 percent majority stake on the Nigeria Air project.
It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emiefele, had urged home governments of foreign airlines flying into Nigeria to reciprocate by granting equal landing opportunities to Nigerian airlines to such countries, as means of reducing the pressure for foreign exchange.
The Ethiopia government move has questioned the actual undertones of the partnership as well as Nigeria’s rule of reciprocity with regards both country’s Bilateral Air Services Agreement( BASA) as no reason has been given for this ban.
The airline in the email signed by its management advised its travel partners to inform their clients about the change in the policy.
The airline said henceforth, passengers are to obtain their visa at Ethiopian embassies in Abuja before travelling to the East African country unlike in the past when travellers were issued a visa on arrival.
The email read in part: “Please, be informed that effective immediately, no more visas on arrival for Nigerian citizens.”
The airline however said that the new policy did not affect passengers transiting overnight in Addis Ababa.
It also emphasised that passengers having layover in Addis-Ababa to travel the next morning to Zanzibar, Seychelles, Lusaka, Lilongwe, Harare, Cape Town and other cities were not affected by the ban and do not need transit visa for their trips.
Ethiopia also made it compulsory for Nigerian citizens and 42 other countries, majorly from African countries to present their yellow fever vaccination cards at any of its borders.
Some of the other countries are Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania and Niger.
Others are Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, South Sudan, Uganda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.