U.S visa restriction: we’ve progressed on resolving misunderstanding, says Buhari

 President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigeria had made progress in resolving issues that led to the suspension of the issuance of the United States (U.S.) “immigrant visas” to Nigerian passport holders.

The President spoke in Abuja while receiving the report of the Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, chaired by Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola.

In statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari expressed delight that two of the six areas of concern raised by the U.S had been fully addressed.

The committee was set up in February to address those contentious issues.

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.

Praising the committee for doing a good job, President Buhari 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, and a National Criminal DNA Laboratory, to aid criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant information.

“An effective Citizen Data Management System is critical for socio-economic planning, improved service delivery and good governance, as well as national and global security. It also has the over-arching benefit of enhancing integrity of the nation’s citizens’ identity instruments for the purpose of information sharing,” he said.

Aregbesola, who listed the reasons for setting up the committee on February 3, 2020, said: “It is our hope that the findings, strategies and implementation plans proffered, if fully implemented, will expedite the lifting of the visa restrictions while bequeathing to the nation an enduring identity management system.”

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