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 U.S. reviews ban on migrant visa as Nigeria achieves 90% requirements

U.S. reviews ban on migrant visa as Nigeria achieves 90% requirements


The Federal Government and the United States, yesterday, met in Abuja to deliberate on consular matters, particularly the ban on migrant visas slammed on the country earlier in the year.

This was even as the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said her country took seriously, the imposition of visa restriction on those who undermine electoral process as the integrity of electoral processes to the fundamental trust of compact between a citizen and their government.

She added that anyone who was found guilty to have fallen short of electoral compliance would be  sanctioned.

Speaking after the inaugural US/Nigeria Consular Forum meeting in Abuja, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Suleiman, said the US was satisfied with government’s rate of meeting its demands, particularly in the area of information sharing.

Suleiman disclosed that Nigeria has met approximately 90 percent of the requirements, saying the US was  re-evaluating the ban on some categories of migrant visas on Nigeria.

He said the forum will serve as a platform where the US and Nigeria could progressively improve on bilateral relations and address concerns for the benefit of citizens.

“We have accomplished so much within a very difficult year, but essentially, we want to acknowledge and put on record, Nigeria’s response to the concerns by the US government in respect of the immigrant visa restriction that was imposed on Nigerians.

“I want to say we appreciate the acknowledgement and the commendations from the United States Government in respect of this response.

“From the assessment of the recipient of our response, I think we have accomplished almost 90 percent of the requirements that have been established in that regard.

“And I am sure that if you follow the information that has been passed on the level of compliance, for instance sharing of information, we have done so much in that regard. That is why I believe the US Government is having the comfort to even re-evaluate, otherwise, we wouldn’t have been candidates for re-evaluation. If we have to rate ourselves from what has been done so far, we should be about 90 percent complaint.

“The consular forum was agreed on earlier in the year during the Bi-National Commission of the United States and Nigeria which was held in Washington in February and that agreement is what is coming to push now.

“We have just had the maiden consular forum meeting today and I want to put it on record that it has been a very successful meeting with various issues that were discussed,” Suleiman said.

Leonard hailed the Federal Government on the progress made in information sharing, including other areas of concern raised by the United States.

Meanwhile, the petition initiated against Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday, seeking the UK and the European Union (EU) to include the governor in it blacklists, has garnered over 12,000 signatories.

The petition by a former presidential aide, Reno Omokri on Change.Org, was addressed to the UK Parliament, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Council of the European Union and the European Parliament.

This is coming amid reports that the US government has placed a visa restriction on some Nigeria governors, politicians and individuals.

Omokri, in the petition, accused el-Rufai of being a threat to the peace and security of Nigeria for many reasons.

Omokri, who was a media aide to former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, claimed el-Rufai insulted Jesus Christ on Twitter on January 27, 2013.

The petition further alleged: “On February 6, 2019, he threatened foreign observers, including observers from the EU and UK with death, warning that they would return in body bags should they intervene in Nigeria.

“On July 15, 2012, Nasir El-Rufai said, and I quote ‘We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.’ This threat has been carried out in Southern Kaduna where there is an ongoing genocide of Christians under el-Rufai’s watch.”

Omokri said on August 23, 2019, the governor charged the Anglican Bishop of Zaria province of Kaduna, Abiodun Ogunyemi for defamation.

Investigation by Daily Sun on Change.Org showed that the petition has hit over 12, 000 as of 4.55 pm yesterday.

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