Nigeria and South Africa have agreed on issuing 10-year visas to businessmen, academics and frequent travelers.
The agreement was reached in a meeting co-chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, which was the first time both presidents will preside since the nine-year old Bi-National Commission of both countries was elevated to the level of heads of state. The meeting was held in Pretoria, South Africa where Buhari arrived on Wednesday on a three-day state visit.
The decision comes on the heels of tensions between both countries over recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, leading to the evacuation of up to 600 affected Nigerians.
But a statement by the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, 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 welfare of citizens.
Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, signed the minutes of the 9th session of Bi-National Commission.