By Daniel Dafe
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide “expresses profound gratitude to the British High Commission and the Government of the United Kingdom for granting the request by the President General, Chief Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, MFR, OFR, CFR, (Ahaejiagamba Ndigbo) for the establishment of a Visa Office in Enugu, the headquarters of the South East of Nigeria.”
Dr. Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, said this in a statement on Monday.
The request for a visa office in Enugu was made during the courtesy visit of the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Richard Montgomery, at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Enugu on June 27, 2023.
The Igbo Leader had emphasized that the southeast zone accounted for over sixty percent of Nigerians traveling to the United Kingdom on a daily basis.
He therefore wondered the rationale and the unfairness of subjecting the Igbo to the inconvenience of traveling to Abuja or Lagos to obtain their UK visas.
Ahaejiagamba seized the occasion to highlight the longstanding relationship between the South East of Nigeria and the United Kingdom which spanned the religious, education and culture; citing the role of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), a Scottish religious body that arrived Onitsha for evangelism in 1857.
Iwuanyanwu reminded the High Commissioner that there was a British Council in Enugu and expressed surprise that the Office was closed without sufficient reason.
He assured the High Commissioner that a Visa Office in Enugu will promote bilateral collaborations that will enhance the growth and sustainable development of the southeast region’s economy.
Chief Iwuanyanwu could not withhold his joy when he learnt that “the British High Commission in Nigeria has announced the opening of a new temporary submission centre for UK visas in Enugu State beginning on 13 September 2023”.
The UK diplomatic office disclosed in a statement on Monday that “the facility will operate out of the Omedel Luxury Hotel, 4/6 Link Road off Pascal and Jerk Bus stop, Independence Layout, Enugu and that it will offer twice-a-week services in the interim”
Ahaejiagamba urged the people of the South East to avail themselves with the opportunities the Visa Office has provided, adding that in the current global dynamics calls for consistent exchange of values between the UK and Nigerians.
Various calls from several Igbo persons and groups both at home and in the Diaspora have expressed immense delight that the 100 days in Office of Chief Iwuanyanwu, as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is phenomenal.