Members of the Nigerian Philosophical Association (NPA) have planned to visit Athens in order to participate in the 23rd World Congress of Philosophers, but the Greek Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria has denied visas to them, without refund of their fees.
NPA’s President, Professor Joseph Agbakoba, disclosed this to Vanguard in an interview he gave to Nsukka on June 24. He said that, for over a month, the Greek Embassy had ceased processing visa applications of members of the association who wish to attend the 23rd World Congress of Philosophers scheduled to be held in Athens, in August.
He noted that the 20 members have registered and paid to attend the congress and have also made hotel reservations. He added that those affected have not been able to buy their tickets because of non-issuance of visas.
Professor Agbakoba, is also the Dean of the School of General Studies at the University of Nigeria. Nsukka, explained that he has made several contacts with the Greek Embassy, but these gave no result, as officials of the Greek Embassy attributed the delay of the visa issuance to the Embassy’s relocation from Lagos to Abuja.
The applicants’ fear was compounded by the rising cost of air fare which has been increasing almost on a weekly basis, according to the Nigerian Professor. Air fare to Greece, which was N180,000 a few months ago, has now risen to N300,000. Before the commencement of the congress, it could rise further.
Prof. Agbakoba said that his group had informed the Embassy that the 20 members were unable to buy their tickets without visas, adding that no less than €250,00 had been paid for the members’ participation in the congress.
“The Nigeria Philosophical Association has been attending other world congresses in different countries across the globe, why the quandary in this present one in Athens which has compelled me the to talk, considering the enormity of embarrassment and time it has cost the entire association for over three months they registered for the 23rd world congress in Athens?” he wondered.
The World Congress of Philosophers will take place from August 4-10. It is organized for the first time in Greece by the International Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP) and the Greek Philosophical Society, under the auspices of the UN-UNESCO and the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic. The subject of the 23rd congress is, Philosophy as an inquiry and a way of life.