hanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the socio-cultural umbrella of the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone on Monday lauded the British government for establishing a UK visa application form submission centre in Enugu.
It also expressed gratitude to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery for granting the request of its President-General, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, for the establishment of the centre in the Southeast.
Its spokesman, Dr Alex Ogbonnia stated on Monday in Enugu that Iwuanyanwu requested the establishment of a visa office in Enugu on June 27 when Montgomery paid him a courtesy visit.
He recalled that during the visit, the Igbo Leader told Montgomery that Nigerians of Southeast extraction accounted for more than 70 per cent of Nigerians traveling to the United Kingdom on daily basis.
Ogbonnia stated also that Iwuanyanwu argued that it was unfair to subject that sizeable number of visa applicants to travels to Lagos and Abuja to submit their applications.
Iwuanyanwu, he added, seized the opportunity of the visit to highlight the longstanding relationship between the Southeast of Nigeria and the United Kingdom in the areas of religion, education and culture.
He stated that Iwuanyanwu cited the role of the Church Missionary Society, a Scottish religious body that arrived Onitsha, Anambra for evangelism in 1857.
“Iwuanyanwu reminded the envoy that there used to be a British Council office in Enugu and expressed surprise that the office was shut without sufficient reason.
“He assured Montgomery that a visa office in Enugu would promote bilateral collaborations that would enhance the growth and sustainable development of the southeast region’s economy,’’ Ogbonnia added.
He stressed that Iwuanyanwu was excited when he learnt that the British High Commission had announced the opening of a temporary visa application submission centre in Enugu State beginning from Sept. 13.
“The UK diplomatic office disclosed in a statement on Monday that the facility will operate at Independence Layout, Enugu and offer twice-a-week services in the interim,’’ he stated.
Ogbonnia added that Iwuanyanwu urged the people of the Southeast to avail themselves of the opportunity the visa application submission centre offers.