Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

Some African athletes experienced delay at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, following their failure to make online payments for their visas on arrival, an official said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the athletics are participating in the ongoing 2018 African Senior Athletics Championship in Asaba, Delta.

A top official of the Nigeria Immigration Service, who pleaded anonymity, made the disclosure on Thursday in Lagos.

The official told NAN that the athletics did not make the required online payment for their visas before coming into Nigeria.

The source said that passports of the athletes, who are from Kenya, Burundi and other African countries, were also collected to put in their visa stickers after payment to show that they had entered Nigeria.

According to the official source, a lot of them came in at once and none of them can pay for visa on arrival, which is a policy of the Federal Government.

“As you know, we don’t collect cash at immigration any longer.

“The Local Organising Committee was not able to make the payment, because it did not make enough preparation toward their arrival into Nigeria.

“They all came at once and New Works, which is our technical partner, had to generate ID and reference number for each and every one of them to make the payment easier.

“But, as they were not able to generate the payment, instead of delaying them and keep them at the airport until when the payment is done, we collected their passports.

“So, when the payment is done, we put the visas and stickers on their passports and return it to the organising committee,” the official told NAN.

The source said that even after the athletes were allowed to go, some of them had issues at the local airport on getting flights to Asaba.

NAN reports that the visa on arrival policy by Nigeria began in 2012 with Kenya and a few African countries.

It came into full stream with the introduction of the Ease-of-Doing-Business Policy by Federal Government in May 2017.

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