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U.S Says There Is No Discrimination Against Nigeria On Basis of Religion or New Visa Regime

Poster: STANCOBRIDGE | Date: 6:05pm, 3rd Feb 2017. | Views: 255 | 1 Replies
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STANCOBRIDGE. Jalingo, Taraba
6:05pm, 3rd Feb 2017.


U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart
Symington, on Friday said America would
not discriminate against any Nigerian on
the basis of religion or on the new visa
regime.

President Trump recently signed an
executive order that banned citizens from
seven countries from travelling into the
U.S. for 90 days.

The countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia,
Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The restrictions were part of wide-ranging
immigration controls that also suspended
refugee arrivals.

At a press conference in Abuja on President
Donald Trump’s executive order and its
effects on Nigeria, the ambassador
dispelled the rumour of reducing U.S. visa
policy for Nigeria to one year.

Symington said that the two-year visa for
Nigeria was still valid.
“The new order now is for the U.S.

government to cross-check as many that
are coming into the U.S. before issuing
visas.

“We will not discriminate on the basis of
religion in issuing visas to Nigerians. The
two-year visa is still valid contrary to
reports we have heard in the media.

“Nigeria’s leadership role is crucial in the
world and Nigeria cannot be blacklisted.
The importance of Nigeria in the world is
legal,” he said.

The envoy explained that Nigerians,
particularly its Muslim community, would
not be discriminated against by the order.

He said that the aim of the executive order
was not to be used as a weapon to
deliberately deny anyone visa into the U.S.

The ambassador explained that the
executive order was designed to put in
place a new and effective system.

He said that the new system would ensure
that people, who genuinely wanted to visit,
live or work in the U.S., could do so and
stop any that posed a threat from entering
into the country.

On the issue of the U.S. closing its doors
against countries that were in crisis and
refugees, Symington said that his country
was not shutting its doors but putting in
place measures to ensure safety for all.

“We recognise that we are a nation of
immigrants and a nation constantly seeking
to bring diverse people together.

“Our goal is to have in place a process that
works. For everyone that applies for a visa,
we should be able to find out the persons
background as to where he has been
before.

“The idea is to ensure that when we open
the door to our house, people are going in
to do good deeds, not to do harm,” he
said.
The Head of Consular Affairs, U.S.

Embassy, Abuja, Mr Megan Moore also
gave assurance that the executive order
would not affect the validity of visas issued
to Nigerians, saying that the only thing
that had changed “is the renewal period’’.

The Consular Chief said that though the
U.S. visa policy was based on reciprocity,
Nigerians would not be discriminated
against.

“It is important to note that there is not
going to be any changes for Nigerians who
have a valid U.S. visa.

“The U.S. Government issues multiple-
entry two-year visa to Nigerians. The
rumour that we are planning to change that
to one year is not true.

“The main difference for Nigerians will be;
you can use the DHL Drop box renewal
programme if your visa has expired within
12 months.

“But if it expired more than 12 months ago,
then you will need to schedule an
appointment for interview.

“Our goal is to ensure that Nigerians are
able to travel to U. S. so that they
continue to participate in the fabrics of our
lives,” Moore said. (NAN)
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