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Visa ban: U.S. won’t publish names

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From Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja 

The United States has again reiterated its threat to ban anyone who tampers with Nigeria’s electoral process from entering its territory.

It said the importance of electoral process makes the need to ban offenders from entering the US.

The fresh warning comes as the governorship election in Edo State holds in less than 48 hours and that of Ondo, October 10.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, spoke on Wednesday at the end of the inaugural consular meeting with Nigerian officials to resolve the inclusion of Nigeria among countries placed on immigration restrictions.

Leonard said: “The integrity of the election process is so important to the fundamental trust of compact between citizens and their government.  It is fundamentally important and that is why we are taking steps to identify people we believe can credibly be construed to have interfered in the process.”

She however, said the names of offenders would not be made public as US visa processes are confidential.

Her words: “We will not publish a list; we do not make public who it is that would be subjected to this sanction.

“An individual who intend to travel or apply for a visa would be refused and impeded but it is not something that we advertise.

“Anyone who had been involved with election processes in Nigeria should reflect upon that notorious behavior. In this regard… there are consequences for their ability to travel to the United States.”

She commended Nigeria for its efforts towards addressing the issue of information sharing and   other concerns raised during the meeting

The Ambassador specifically mentioned information sharing on and handling of returnees from the US and other consular matters despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mustapha Sulaiman said Nigeria has fulfilled about 90 per cent of the requirements on issues of information sharing, which had led to immigration restriction placed on the country.

Sulaiman said: “I think from the assessment of the recipient of our response,   we have accomplished 90 percent of the requirement that has been established in that regard.

“We have done so much and that is why I believe the US government is having the comfort to reevaluate otherwise, we wouldn’t have been candidate for re-evaluation.

“Nigeria is waiting for the outcome of re-evaluation on the efforts put in place to address the various concerns raised by the US.”

The Donald Trump administration had on January 31, 2020, unveiled a new set of immigration restrictions that affected Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan

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