Nigeria: Online Visa Application - Urchins with laptops Frustrate Applicants


Unending activities of street urchins who engage in web based visa appointment system for visa applicants as a source of economic living have continued to remain a challenge to both the visa applicants and the embassy officials, Vanguard CyberLife investigations can reveal.

A close monitoring of business activities in Walter Carington street where many foreign missions in Nigeria have their offices showed that many visa applicants because of ignorance and lack of Internet access use these boys who hang around in a building adjacent to the American embassy to do their online visa appointment and hotel reservations for some applicants

The web based visa appointment system introduced by many foreign missions in the country including America, British, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, among other embassies, to allow for equal opportunity and transparency among prospective visa applicants no matter social or economic status appears not to be working well for many of these embassies as result of unending disturbing interference by these boys who parade the streets of Walter Carington with laptops looking for possible prey.

Because of death of Cyber Café in major cities across the nation and lack Internet access among visa applicants, it is always a rainy day for the 'Street Boys' who engage in visa appointment. The ugly trend has left many applicants worse off in the process of their visa application as many of them may end up getting documents to supports their applications.

Although some of these street boys are genuinely assisting visa applicants to secure appointment online or hotel reservation, further findings revealed that visa applicants who fall victims of these boys are those young boys and ladies who are desperate to leave the country for greener pasture and those ignorant business men who may not have web based skills to do the booking themselves.

While all the foreign missions in the country have warned prospective visa applicants not to patronize touts or use fraudulent documents in their visa applicants, in the process of using street boys for their online appointment, however, some of these visa applicants, it was gathered may be advised in the process by the visa racketeers to forge one document or the other so as to secure a visa which is not guaranteed.

However, because of limited access to Internet and poor information communication technology consciousness among Nigerians are still very low, many visa applicants, according to findings, rely so much in these street boys for their web based visa appointment or hotel booking.

CyberLife took a close look at how online visa appointment of most embassies work and what applicants face in the course of visa application. In the case of British High Commission, their appointment system has been the toast of prospective visa applicant because of option of applying online or submitting application through their agencies located in many places across the Federation.

However, a small number of British visa applicants, it was learnt use online method because of the fact applicants have the option submitting their application without appointment from Monday through Friday of every working day.