The Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, has warned embassies and high commissions in Nigeria to stop using travel agents to defraud Nigerians applying for visas.
Speaking at the dinner organised in honour of the visiting Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makei, Onwuliri demanded “fair and just’’ treatment for visa applicants in the country.
“Exploitation of Nigerians through agents has become something I think we cannot tolerate any longer.
“We are watching and we will soon ask our security personnel to go after the culprits because the exploitation of Nigerians seeking visas must stop,’’ she warned.
The minister, who did not name the errant embassies, welcomed the decision of the Belarusian embassy in Nigeria to appoint honorary counsels to Lagos and Kano, two commercial cities in Southern and Northern Nigeria.
She expressed the hope that the opening of more diplomatic presence in the country by the eastern European nation would boost economic and trade relations of both countries.
Makei said Nigeria and Belarus had maintained diplomatic relations since 1994, which had yet to reflect in the economic and trade volume of both countries.
The minister said there were huge prospects of increased trade between the two countries in the area of heavy automobile, agriculture and mining.
He said MTZ Tractor Company of Belarus would open a tractor assembly plant in Bauchi before the end of the year.
He said the joint venture deal had been concluded and the first delivery of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts would soon arrive the country.
He said Belarus was also willing to offer technical cooperation to Defence Industrial Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) in Kaduna, which manufactures arms and ammunition.