The British High Commission (BHC) in Nigeria has explained that while its visa fees are denominated in dollars, the payment can be made in naira. It further added that the introduction of the new policy and subsequent announcement were purely an accounting measure.

The clarification followed the notice by the federal government that it will no longer tolerate the demand by some foreign missions in Nigeria that visa and other consular payment be de-nominated in foreign currencies.

A statement by the British Deputy High Commission (Lagos) Communication Manager, Mr. Wale Adebajo, said there was no need for a visa applicant to have a dollar account.

“Earlier this month, the UK introduced compulsory online payments for visas and announced that the cost of those visas would be denominated in US dollars. This is purely an accounting measure. As before, Nigerians with a naira credit or debit card can pay for visas using their naira account. Although the visa fee will be denominated in dollars, the payment will be deducted from their account in naira. There is no need for anyone to have a dollar account,” it said.

Last Thursday, at a meeting with members of the diplomatic corps, the supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, had said the demand for such payments in foreign currencies violated Nigeria’s sovereignty. She had also said the policy was illegal, unacceptable and must be stopped immediately.

“Charging fees in foreign currencies is an illegal act that clearly violates the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No self-respecting nation can accept such a flagrant assault on the symbol of its nation-hood,” the minister had said.