An NGO, the Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI), on Monday, applauded the agreement reached between Nigeria and South Africa on the issuance of a 10-year visa to businessmen, academics and frequent travellers.
We reports that Chief Dennis Aghanya, Executive-Secretary of the ARDI, in a statement in Abuja, described the agreement as one of the greatest developments in the diplomatic relationship between both countries.
“It implies that both countries can now guarantee safety and conducive business environment for each other’s nationals in their respective countries.
“The bilateral agreement would further encourage collaboration of efforts by the security agencies of both countries to curb illicit flow of funds and drugs across each other’s borders,’’ he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, on October 3 met to agree on modalities to stem tides between the two countries with the signing of 32 agreements.
They also agreed to set up “early warning mechanisms” to detect hostility between South Africans and Nigerians to avoid recurrence of violence.
Nigeria accounts for 64 percent of South Africa’s total trade with the West African Region and is one of its largest trading partners on the continent.
Aghanya explained that Buhari had demonstrated rare character by accepting to visit South Africa amidst public criticism.
“There is therefore no doubt that the president has initiated moves through this visit to encourage more interaction among citizens of both countries and further strengthen socio-cultural, economic and political relations.
“The visit may be contrary to some opinions, but we consider it as the most matured approach towards handling the issue.
“It is a demonstration of maturity by the Nigerian government, and the president has truly led by example.
“Buhari should however extend same initiative towards other African governments to open up their economies for more Nigerian businesses and ensure safety and ease of doing businesses for us in their countries.
“We should also extend same gesture to nationals of other countries here in Nigeria as this will in no small measure open up the continent for wealth exploitation that could reduce poverty and corruption,’’ Aghanya said.
He however advised Nigerians living in South Africa to conduct themselves in the most acceptable manner, adding that: “our people should not export crime to other countries while seeking livelihood’’.
“As we are fighting corruption in our country, they are also fighting same in their own country to the best of their ability’.
“As much as they are also involved in drugs themselves, exporting such banned substances to them will only worsen the situation’’, he said.
ARDI is a private anti-graft orgainisation that also conducts researches on development and well-being of the country.
The NGO was responsible for the investigation that led to the sacking of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.