NigeriaAt59: Trump Writes Buhari, Congratulates Nigerians

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and US President Donald Trump during Buhari’s visit to the United States.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday congratulated Nigeria on her 59th Independence Anniversary.

Trump extended his congratulations in a message to President Muhammadu Buhari which was published on the website of U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria.

In the message, Trump said Nigeria is one of U.S. strongest partners in Africa.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW…

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the American people, I extend our warmest greetings and congratulate you on the 59th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.

Nigeria is among our strongest partners in Africa.  We share common goals of expanding trade and growing our economic relationship.  We are allies in the global battle against terrorism, and we want to see Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa driven out of the region and other insurgencies like them dismantled.  The United States welcomes efforts by your administration to diversify opportunities for your talented, creative, and hardworking people to the benefit of both our countries, Africa, and the world.

I am pleased that following our meeting last year, our Vice Presidents are also building on our longstanding history of cooperation.  I wish the people of Nigeria continued success as you mark another year of independence.

Sincerely,

Donald J. Trump

 

U.S. Embassy Suspends ‘Dropbox’ Visa Renewals In Nigeria Indefinitely

US Embassy Suspends ‘Dropbox’ Process For Visa Renewals In Nigeria
Photo: [email protected]

 

The United States has suspended interview waivers for renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process, in Nigeria indefinitely.

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

It explained that the suspension would take effect immediately at the close of business today, stressing that it would no longer accept visa applications by DHL in Nigeria.

The mission, however, gave assurance that those who have already submitted their passports to DHL for processing via “Dropbox” at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos would not be affected by the development.

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It added that the processing of diplomatic and official (A, G, and NATO class) visa applications was not also affected.

The new procedure, according to the mission, is that non-immigrant visa applicants in Nigeria must apply online and appear in-person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.

Read the statement below:

Effective at the close of business today, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, the U.S. Mission to Nigeria is indefinitely suspending interview waivers for renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process.

Visa applications will no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria.  Those who have already submitted their passports via “Dropbox” to DHL for processing either at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General in Lagos, will not be impacted by this change.

All applicants in Nigeria seeking a nonimmigrant visa to the United States must apply online, and will be required to appear in-person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.

Applicants must appear at the location they specified when applying for the visa renewal.

Processing of diplomatic and official (A, G, and NATO class) visa applications will continue unchanged.

Mission Nigeria’s processing procedures are regularly reviewed in order to assess our ability to quickly, efficiently, and securely process visa applications.

The U.S. Mission is taking this step to provide more efficient customer service and promote legitimate travel and will continue to facilitate applications of established travelers to the best of its ability.

U.S. Embassy Says Consular Services Will Continue During Govt Shutdown

US Embassy Closes Consular Section In Abuja Temporarily

 

The U.S. Embassy has said that consular services will continue operating at its embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos

A statement by the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday said that “The U.S. Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate General in Lagos will remain open during the U.S. government shutdown.

“This includes the Consular Sections.  Prior reports to the contrary were incorrect.

“American Centers and EducationUSA offices operating on embassy and consulate grounds that are managed by Mission Public Affairs Sections will remain closed throughout the shutdown.

“American Spaces, such as American Corners operated by partner institutions and located off embassy or consulate grounds, however, will remain open”.

The Embassy had earlier said on Monday that the American centers were closed due to government’s shutdown.

In a similar statement that day, the U.S embassy said,  “Due to the current U.S. government shutdown, the American Centers located in the Embassy, Abuja and Consulate General, Lagos are unfortunately closed.

“They will re-open once the U.S. government shutdown is resolved. Sorry for any inconvenience to our valued patrons”.

Channels TV, U.S. Embassy Train Journalists

Channels TV, U.S. Embassy Train Journalists

The role of the Nigerian media in promoting national development has been a topic of discourse for many years with experts concluding that capacity building is key to effective media practice.

To this end, the United States Government is partnering with Channels Media Group to enhance local capacity, as some Nigerian journalists undergo a one-week training in Abuja.

Channels Media Group expressed optimism that facilitating the exercise at its state-of-the-art training centre would drive the expected change.

Speaking on behalf of the management, Channels TV Assistant General Manager, Operations, Mr Kingsley Uranta, said: “I’m sure this is going to be very fruitful and we hope you would apply all you will be learning here in the course of this one week in your various places”.

On his part, the spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Mr Russel Brooks, thanked the participants for taking part in the training.

He said: “This is going to be a wonderful, very enlightening week of training and we really appreciate that you’ve taken time out of your busy weeks and days to come here”.

Abacha Loot: SERAP Writes Trump

AbachaThe Embassy of the United States of America in Nigeria, has said it would deliver a letter by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to President Donald Trump, requesting the release of 500 million dollars worth of proceeds traced to former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha to Nigeria.

A statement signed by the SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, noted that he U.S embassy said: “The Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are in regular communication with the Nigerian Attorney General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding further cooperation needed to conclude pending asset forfeiture cases and to develop a mechanism for the timely and transparent repatriation of those assets.”

The embassy’s letter signed by David J. Young, Deputy Chief of Mission, follows SERAP’s letter dated February 3, 2017 and signed by the organisation’s U.S. Volunteer Counsel, Professor Alexander W. Sierck and Executive Director Adetokunbo Mumuni.

In the letter, SERAP had told Mr Trump that, “the U.S. Department of Justice must promptly initiate civil asset forfeiture proceedings against the $500 million proceeds of corruption so as to fulfill several non-controversial commitments by the U.S. to assist Nigeria in recovering assets looted by former Nigerian government officials.”

The response of the embassy read in part: “The United States Government supports the Government of Nigeria’s efforts to work with civil society to identify how harm can be remedied through the return of stolen assets. We encourage you to disclose these issues with the Nigerian Attorney General and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who are working closely with the U.S. on the repatriation process.

“We were encouraged by civil society’s role in the development of Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership Action Plan and the commitment to strengthening laws to foster transparency and accountability in the management of recovered and returned assets.”

SERAP had however, noted in its letter that, “the $500 million proceeds are separate from the $480 million of Abacha-origin funds that have been forfeited to the U.S. under an August 2014 U.S. Federal district court order. SERAP’s request is fully consistent with the UN Convention Against Corruption, which both the U.S. and Nigeria have ratified.

“Any bilateral discussions between the U.S. and Nigeria concerning these assets should include clear acknowledgement of the significant role that civil society plays in asset recovery matters.” the group stressed.

Nigerians Can Visit The United States, Embassy Reiterates

The United States has asked Nigerians not to harbour fears over their visit to the country.

The spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Mr Russel Brooks, disclosed this on Monday when he visited Channels Television in Lagos.

Mr Brooks explained that President Donald Trump’s travel ban has been misinterpreted as Nigerians with valid visas are welcome to the U.S.

However, he said they would have to go through the proper border checks at the port of entry.

“People shouldn’t have cold feet, I think it is probably a misinterpretation to say that the difficulty that some people may have had in travelling to the United States is the responsibility of the current administration. I will say that it can be difficult at times for certain people, depending on their qualifications to obtain visas.

“Some people may encounter difficulties in entering the United States because even with the visa, it is the responsibility of the immigration officials at the port of entry to determine whether or not that person can enter into the United States,” the U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

He maintained that Nigerians should not be worried about travelling to the United States, asking them to disregard false reports on the U.S. travel ban.

“Statistics show that the actual number of people who have encountered these difficulties are very very small.

“So despite what you may have read in newspapers or heard on radios, on talk shows etc, there is no reason for Nigerians to be reluctant or hesitant about visiting the United States,” Brooks stated.

Nigerian Envoy Allays Fear Over U.S. Immigration Ban

Nigerian Envoy Allays Fear Over U.S. Immigration Ban
Ambassador Hakeem Balogun

For some Nigerians with plans to travel to the United States, but are worried over what awaits them in view of the clampdown on immigrants, Nigeria’s Charge d’ Affairs in the U.S., Ambassador Hakeem Balogun, has dismissed such fears.

Speaking with reporters in Washington D.C., Ambassador Balogun insisted that Nigeria is not on the list of countries with travel ban tag placed by U.S. President, Donald Trump.

He, however, asked citizens to always adhere to set rules to avoid punitive measures.

The clarification comes barely three weeks after the U.S. Embassy in Abuja said there is no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.

It added that there was no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the country.

Nigeria Not Listed On Immigration Order – U.S.

Nigeria Not Listed On Executive Order on Immigration - U.S.The U.S. Government has clarified that there is no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.

The clarification was made in a statement issued on Wednesday by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The U.S. Embassy stated that Nigeria was not named in the Executive Order on Immigration issued on March 6 by the White House.

It added that there was no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the United States.

The clarification followed conflicting reports from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

While Honourable Dabiri-Erewa said she got reports that Nigerians were being denied entry into the U.S. on arrival, the Ministry insisted that the claims were false.

U.S. Embassy In Congo Says Family Members Can Return After Evacuation

congoFamily members of U.S. personnel in Democratic Republic of Congo can return to the country, the U.S. embassy said late on Friday, one week after ordering them to leave over safety concerns related to the volatile political climate.

At least 50 people were killed last month in anti-government protests in the capital Kinshasa and the United States has slapped sanctions on three members of President Joseph Kabila’s inner circle for allegedly committing human rights abuses and helping block planned elections.

“The order to depart was made last week out of an abundance of caution considering the unstable and unpredictable security situation in the DRC,” the embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“In our latest re-evaluation, we have assessed that security conditions permit the return of family members,” it added.

Kabila, who has ruled Africa’s top copper producer since his father’s assassination in 2001, is barred by the constitution from standing in the next presidential election, originally scheduled for next month.

Kabila’s opponents say he is intentionally delaying the elections to cling to power and have vowed protests to force him from office this year. The government, however, says the delay is due to budgetary and logistical obstacles.

No Evidence Of Sexual Misconduct Against Lawmakers – Foreign Affairs Minister

Sexual MisconductThe Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says there is no evidence to confirm the allegations of sexual misconduct made against three lawmakers of the House of Representatives.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

The Minister’s presentation is based on an interaction he had with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, concerning a letter he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Committee met with the Minister after it heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The Minister on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint committee investigating the matter.

It was the second time the Minister and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said that the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he would be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, hadchallenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via aphone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

Sex Scandal Probe: Onyeama, US Ambassador, Again, Fail To Appear Before Committee

house-of-reps-to-reveal-lawmakers'-allowancesThe Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday failed to appear before the joint House of Representatives Committee investigating allegations of sexual misconduct brought against three members of the House.

This is the second time the Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, have failed to appear before the Committee.

The Minster, in a letter to the Committee, said the time for the investigative hearing coincides with the Federal Executive Council meeting in the Presidential Villa.

The Committee had adjourned the meeting last week after another letter from the Minister said he will be away in Kigali, Rwanda for the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union and asked for another date.

The Committee, however, heard from the three lawmakers who denied the allegations brought against them.

The hearing is expected to resume on Thursday when the minister is expected to appear.

The United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle also failed to appear before the meeting.

Mr Entwistle, said there is proof that three members of the Nigerian House of Representatives were seen acting inappropriately in the US.

Mr Entwhistle is to present video evidence against them for alleged sexual misconduct.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

The House Committee Chairman on Capital Market, Rep. Yusuf Tajudeen, had challenged the U.S Embassy to come and place their facts in the sex allegation against federal lawmakers before the House.

He said the House of Representatives is expecting the U.S Embassy to provide video evidence of the allegations made against some members.

“We want them to place their facts and confront our colleagues” he said via a phone interview on Sunrise Daily.

He also maintained that the House is convinced that the accused were never engaged in solicitation for sex act.

Two All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers, Mohammed Gololo and Mark Gbillah, and one Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Samuel Okon, were alleged to have solicited for sex and sexually harassed a hotel housekeeper in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

U.S Embassy Condemns Attack On IDP Camp Dikwa

U.S embassy in NigeriaThe U.S. Embassy in Nigeria has condemned the suicide attack on the Internally Displaced Persons in Dikwa town, Borno state which has left over 51 persons dead and scores injured.

A statement from the Public Affairs section in the Information Office of the Embassy at the Federal Capital Territory says the United States remains committed to assisting the Internally Displaced Populations in the North-east through humanitarian relief efforts.

While extending the United States deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the statement says the U.S will also continue to support the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism.

On Wednesday about 51 people died in a suicide bomb attack in Dikwa, a local council in Borno State, villagers say.

Seventy-eight injured persons have also been evacuated to Maiduguri, the capital city for treatment.