By George Ozalla

The President of the Senate, His Excellency Senator Godswill Akpabio is not unmindful of the robust bilateral, cultural, and economic relationships that exist between Nigeria and Brazil, his Senior Legislative Aide on Stakeholders’ Engagement and Mobilization, Mr. Femi Odere has said.

Odere said this when he paid a courtesy visit to Joao Marcelo Queiro Soares, Minister-Counsellor to Nigeria at the Embassy of Brazil in Abuja on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

The Senior Legislative Aide said the relationship between the two countries is extremely important that the Senate President is desirous that it not only stays that way but he’s also looking for ways to deepen it through legislation. “My objective is therefore to interface with you on how these ties should be strengthened, your Excellency.”

Odere said looking for ways to strengthen these ties between the two countries is of urgent importance against the backdrop that history has just presented to the world two presidents who are progressives of the highest hue in the person of Alhaji Bola Tinubu and Lula da Silva. “President Lula is unapologetically Afro-centric. He’s particularly Nigeria-centric. And we need to build on this momentum,” Odere said.

However, the Senior Legislative Aide to the Senate President said he also came to seek the intervention of the Ambassador in addressing several complaints of visa processing/issuance that some intending Nigerian travellers do encounter regularly.

He said it would be very remiss of him not to bring to the attention of the Ambassador that Nigerian government functionaries are complaining about what they described as “long and unusual delays” in getting visas to attend programs in Brazil. “Sir, you can assist in removing this visa issuance friction,” Odere adviced.

In his response Ambassador Queiro Soares thanked Mr.Odere for the visit, re-echoing his country’s friendly, long-standing bilateral, cultural, and economic ties with Nigeria as a true statement.

Amb. Queiro Soares stated that the main commonality between Nigeria and Brazil is that both Presidents Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were recently elected and are just settling down to turn things around for their citizens. He expressed hope that Nigeria and Brazil will partner to promote a lot of mutually beneficial agro-allied business initiatives with the right economic policy framework which will no doubt boost employment opportunities.

The Ambassador said although visa processes, procedures, and issuance do not fall directly under the purview of his office as his Consulate has direct procedural channels in the home country, he adviced Akpabio’s Aide not to read any ulterior motive for the present visa issuance friction but rather to see it as a purely bureaucratic bottleneck that will fizzle out in due time. “In some cases, a high influx of applications, with fewer personnels to handle them, improper documentation on the part of applicants, requirements deficits, and other sundry issues may cause such delays,” Ambassador Queiro Soares pointed out.

He further stated that the Embassy’s operations in Nigeria will soon be expanded as well as increase in its manpower.

He assured that notwithstanding the obvious handicap as regards intervening or influencing visa issuance, his office will still assist in properly linking up the Brazilian Consulate in Lagos for further engagement in reviewing some complaints based on merit.

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