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Canada denies Yemi Alade visa over fear of ‘not returning to Nigeria’



Nigerian female artiste, Yemi Alade, has been denied a Canadian visa by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRRC).

The musician was expected to headline the closing of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique on Sunday.

According to a report by Radio-Canada, Yemi Alade will be replaced by the Zambian artist Sampa the Great following her visa denial and that of her group in Nigeria.

Disclosing the reason for her visa refusal, Suzanne Rousseau, general manager of the International Festival Nuits d’Afrique said it was first the members of Yemi Alade’s group in Nigeria who were refused their visa, requested in Africa. The singer’s request, filed two days later in France (where she was), was also rejected. Then the file was sent back from France to Africa.

Ms Rousseau explained; “Yemi’s musicians are in Nigeria. Often she tours on her own and then joins artists in Europe and the United States, but this time around she really wanted to bring her African crew. This is where it complicated things“.

Suzanne Rousseau claimed that IRRC refused these visa applications because of the fear that the artists would settle in Canada long term, and not return to their country.

The artists, however, send everything, including their bank account information, to prove that they will return to their country of origin and that they have something that attaches them to their country.

And Yemi, it’s so obvious that she’s not going to stay in Canada, because she regularly tours abroad”.

Suzanne Rousseau explains that foreign visa applications from Nigeria, and several other African countries, are processed by a visa application centre located in Nairobi, Kenya.

“When I saw that the application was being made in Nairobi – it’s not even in their own country – I knew it would complicate the process. And this year again, with the COVID, the procedures are much longer.

“The festival director is used to the complexity of visa application processes, especially for artists from Africa, but she admits that the situation has worsened. For five or six years, it’s been very difficult. There are many steps, there are lengths; It’s very complicated.

If we wanted to follow the rules to the letter, we would have to start six months in advance, while the contracts are not signed and the tours are not confirmed”.

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