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President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is making progress to reverse the United States suspension of the issuance of “immigrant visas” to Nigerian passport holders
Receiving the report of the committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, the President expressed delight that two out of the six areas of concern raised by the United States have been fully addressed.
The committee was set up in February this year to address issues that led to the U.S temporary visa restrictions on Nigerian passport holders.
The suspension, which came into effect on February 21, 2020, does not apply to other U.S visas such as those for official, business, tourism, and student travel.
Commending the committee for its patriotic diligence in carrying out the assignment, President Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, assured Nigerians and the international community of the timely implementation of the committee’s recommendations after due consideration.
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.
President Buhari 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 also pledged Nigerian Government’s commitment to sustaining the follow-up for the removal of the visa restrictions by the United States and developing a credible harmonized National Identity Data Management System.
President Buhari 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.
In his remarks, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonization, Aregbesola recalled that the body was set up on February 3, 2020, to among others, review the visa restrictions imposed by the U.S and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
Another mandate, the Minister said, was to review the status of Nigeria’s numerous citizen identification data, including biometrics, held by different ministries, departments and agencies, and propose strategies for the harmonization of same.
He reported that Nigeria have fully satisfied two of the six areas of concern raised by the U.S, two others substantially satisfied, and progress being made on the remaining two.
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