Following call by the Federal Government of Nigeria on the United States against issuing visa to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the United States Consulate in Lagos on Friday said that the matters relating to the application for visa was a confidential matter.
The statement was issued by the Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Lagos, Brussel Brooks. According to Brooks who spoke while answering questions from journalists, political candidates, from presidential to the National Assembly and others should focus on issue-based campaigns instead of dwelling on things that were not important to the well-being of Nigerians.
“The position of the US Mission has remained the same throughout any discussion on this issue that visas are a confidential matter.
“We don’t discuss visa status of any person, whether it be a highly rated official, a presidential candidate or an average citizen.
“Anyone who applies for a visa should know that there will be some records that are confidential. It is classified as a private document by the United States Government, and we never discuss them in public.”
Brooks further urged Nigerians to ask candidates their plan to improve the education sector in the nation.
“Oftentimes, unfortunately, campaigns are full of distractions; things that are not that important to the lives and welfare of average Nigerians, especially the children that are with us today. What is important is to give them (children) the opportunities to serve in order to thrive in today’s world.
“This means they need good education. The schools should be improved. When I heard about the letter from the students describing their lack of books and dearth of desks in their schools, this is very disheartening. There are things that should be corrected.
“I will also encourage parents and voters to ask the candidates what they plan to do to improve education. I think issue-based campaigns will be beneficial to all Nigerians.”
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, had on Thursday, following the revelation that Atiku applied for a US visa, cautioned the US against issuing visa to the PDP presidential candidate.
“We understand and appreciate the fact that it is the prerogative of the US to grant a visa to anyone who applies.
“However, we want the US to be neutral and be wary of taking any decision that will give the impression that they are favouring or endorsing one candidate over the other. An impression must not be created that the US Government is endorsing one particular candidate over the other,” Lai said.
The position of the Federal Government regarding Atiku’s visa application have been vehemently condemned by many including the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Senator Shehu Sani and others.