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Nigeria Protests Against U.K. Cash Bonds Plan for Visas

June 26 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria protested against a U.K. proposal to make visa applicants from the West African nation pay cash bonds against overstaying their visits, the Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign Minister Olugbenga Ashiru requested for a meeting he held yesterday with U.K. High Commissioner to Nigeria Andrew Pocock, to express the government’s disapproval of the proposal that requires first-time visitors from “high-risk” countries to deposit 3,000 pound ($4,611), according to a statement e-mailed yesterday by the Abuja-based ministry. The policy will undermine efforts “to double the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries by 2014,” Ashiru said.

Details of the proposal are still being worked out and if it’s applied wouldn’t affect many people, the U.K. High Commission in Abuja said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. “No final decision has been made,” Pocock was quoted as saying in the statement.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country of more than 160 million, was a colony of the U.K. until independence in 1960. More than 180,000 Nigerians apply to visit the U.K. every year, with about 70 percent given visas, according to the High Commission.

“Travel between our two countries is a key part of our strong cultural and business relationship,” it said in the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at mmazen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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