Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, has pleaded with Canada to reduce the delay in granting visas to genuine Nigerians wishing to travel to the country especially for official purposes.
Obasa, who played host to the Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lajos Arendas, also promised that Lagos state would continue to support the mutual relationship that had existed between Nigeria and Canada over the years.
He noted that this relationship led to Canada standing by Nigeria during the years of the late General Sani Abacha, who was a maximum ruler.
Obasa also stressed that the House had passed a lot of bills into law to ensure a peaceful and habitable Lagos, adding that such laws include the Child Rights Law to protect children, Domestic Violence Law to protect women and the Procurement Law.
The visit of Lajos, Obasa said, is a confirmation that Canada was interested in the development of democracy in Nigeria and that the parliament is the symbol of democracy in the country.
“We know you also support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and you provide support for our country by helping to reduce maternal death rate.
“We will continue to represent our people and their interest is paramount to us.
“We thank you for granting us visas, we want this to continue, but the period of obtaining the visa of your country should be reduced,” he said.
Earlier, Lajos, who noted that it was interesting witnessing the sitting of the House, revealed that he was impressed by what he saw when he visited the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, adding that he felt as if he was in a different country from Nigeria.
For Lajos, Lagos is the hub of business, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa and the business between Canada and Nigeria has grown over the years.
He said Nigeria is the number one partner of Canada in Africa, stressing further that he would try to convince Canadian companies in Nigeria to bear with the country in the area of forex trading.
Concerning the issuance of visa, the commissioner said the average time of delivery is now two years as against the earlier four years.
“The visas were being delayed due to the process of documentation and others, but the system is improving and it is not far from being perfect,” he said.