Nigeria and Jamaica have enjoyed a great diplomatic relationship over the past decade.
2016’s ‘A Trip to Jamaica’ is one of Nollywood’s highest-grossing films, and is an exhibition of the growing relationship between Nigeria and Jamaica [IMDB]
Jamaica is conducting a comprehensive review of its visa portfolio, and consideration of granting Nigerians visas on arrival is on the table.
The review affects citizens of several other countries too, according to the Caribbean island nation’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell.
The official said, during a town hall event in Lagos on Saturday, April 29, 2023, that the review process may be concluded soon.
“It’s something which is under consideration. Last year, when the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was in Jamaica, I had that discussion with him and gave him my undertaking that it will be looked at.
“You can be rest assured that you’ll have an outcome really soon,” he said.
Jamaica’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell, was a guest of honour at the town hall event in Ikoyi, Lagos [Jamaica Information Service]
Colonisation by Britain is a common thread between Nigeria and Jamaica, and both share cultural ties as a result of enslaved Nigerians forcefully taken to the Caribbean to work on plantations.
Both countries have enjoyed a great relationship over the past decade and held bilateral talks on trade, investment, cultural exchange and technical cooperation.
According to the Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, Esmond Reid, there’s a huge traffic of Nigerians who apply for and secure students’ and work visas to Jamaica annually.
He also gave assurances at Saturday’s town hall event that Jamaica will continue to provide the framework for making the visa process as seamless as possible for Nigerians.
The Nigerian passport is weak
If Jamaica’s overhaul improves visa access for Nigerians, it would marginally boost the limp status of a passport that’s statistically one of the weakest in the world.
The Nigerian passport grants visa-free access to less than 50 countries [Getty]
According to the Henley Passport Index, as recently as the first quarter of 2023, the Nigerian passport is only better than 19 other countries.
The index ranks all passports based on their visa-free access, and Nigerians only have easy access to 46 other countries, a lower score than Djibouti (48 countries), the Democratic Republic of Congo (49), Burundi (49) and Angola (50).
Cameroon (51), Guinea-Bissau (52), Comoros Islands (52), Chad (52), Central African Republic (52), Algeria (52), Niger (53), Mali (53), Egypt (53), Togo (54), and Madagascar (54) also have stronger passports than Nigeria.
Seychelles has the strongest passport in Africa with visa-free access to 153 countries around the world.