Nigeria making progress to reverse US visa restrictions – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, said Nigeria was making progress in its efforts to ensure the reversal of the United States’ suspension of the issuance of “immigrant visas” to Nigerian passport holders.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement qouted the President as saying this while receiving the report of the committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.

Adesina’s statement was titled “Nigeria making progress to reverse US visa restrictions -President.”

The Aregbesola-led committee was set up in February to address issues that led to the US temporary visa restrictions on Nigerian passport holders.

The suspension came into effect on February 21, 2020.

Adesina said the President expressed delight that two out of the six areas of concern raised by the US had been fully addressed.

He qouted him as commending the committee for its diligence in carrying out the assignment and assuring Nigerians and the international community of the timely implementation of the committee’s recommendations after due consideration.

The President said, ‘‘I also note the progress made by Nigeria towards the removal of the visa restrictions as two out of the six areas of concern raised by the United States had been fully addressed, two are substantially satisfied while some progress is being made on the remaining two.

‘‘I am delighted that this progress, especially the uploading of Lost and Stolen Passport and Travel Documents has been acknowledged by the United States Government.”

According to the statement, the committee had among other things recommended the establishment of a National Criminal Information Management, fashioned after the INTERPOL model, and a National Criminal DNA Laboratory, to aid criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant information.

Buhari was said to have noted that the implementation of these and other far-reaching recommendations as articulated in the Report will fully address all outstanding issues that led to the visa restrictions.

The President added, ‘‘An effective Citizen Data Management System is critical for socio-economic planning, improved service delivery and good governance, as well as national and global security. It also has the over-arching benefit of enhancing integrity of the nation’s citizens’ identity instruments for the purpose of information sharing.

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