President Muhmmadu Buhari has assured Nigeria has made considerable progress in effort to sort out the conditions that led to the suspension of the issuance of the United States of America’s (USA) “immigrant visas” to Nigerian passport holders.
The President disclosed this on Thursday while receiving the report of the committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari expressed delight that two out of the six areas of concern raised by the United States had been fully addressed.
Recall that the committee was set up in February to address issues that led to the US temporary visa restrictions on Nigerian passport holders.
The suspension, which came into effect on February 21, 2020, does not apply to other US visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.
Commending the committee for its patriotic diligence in carrying out the assignment, Buhari assured Nigerians and the international community of the timely implementation of the committee’s recommendations after due consideration.
‘‘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,’’ the President said.
The committee had, among other things, recommended 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 noted 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 also pledged commitment to sustaining the follow-up for removal of the visa restrictions by the United States and developing a credible harmonised National Identity Data Management System.
He recalled that the Federal Government’s response to the temporary visa restrictions placed on Nigerian citizens by the United States in January this year, led to the setting up of the Committee to review the restrictions and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.