U.S. Embassy Abuja Partners Channels Academy To Train 150 Conflict Reporters

Media professionals attend a training organised by the US Embassy in collaboration with Channels Academy in June 2021.
Media professionals attend a training organised by the US Embassy in collaboration with Channels Academy in June 2021.

 

The U.S. Embassy Abuja, in partnership with Channels Academy, has trained over 150 journalists on Conflict Reporting and Peace Journalism.

In her opening remarks, the U.S. Embassy Spokesperson/Press Attaché Jeanne Clark noted that the United States recognized that security challenges exist in many forms throughout the country, and that journalists are confronted with responsibility to prioritize physical safety in addition to meeting standards of objectivity and integrity in conflict.

She urged the journalists to share their experiences throughout the course of the three-day seminar and encouraged participants to identify new ways to address these security challenges.

 

 

The trainer Professor Steven Youngblood from the U.S. Center for Global Peace Journalism – Park University defined and presented principles for peace journalism in conflict reporting. He cautioned journalists to refrain from what he termed war journalism.

He said, “war journalism is a pattern of media coverage that includes overvaluing violent, reactive responses to conflict while undervaluing non-violent, developmental responses.”

Professor Steven Youngblood from the U.S. Center for Global Peace Journalism – Park University trains media professionals via Zoom during a training organised by the US Embassy in partnership with Channels Academy in June 2021.
Professor Steven Youngblood from the U.S. Center for Global Peace Journalism – Park University trains media professionals via Zoom during a training organised by the US Embassy in partnership with Channels Academy in June 2021.

 

The Provost of Channels Academy, Mr Kingsley Uranta, showed appreciation for the continuous partnership with the U.S. Embassy and for bringing such training opportunities to Nigerian journalists. He also called on conflict reporters to be peace ambassadors.

The training took place virtually via Zoom on June 22 – 24, 2021. Journalists converged in American Spaces in Abuja, Kano, Bauchi Sokoto, Maiduguri, Awka, and Ibadan.

At the same time, some joined from Channels Academy Abuja and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in Port Harcourt.

US Embassy To Prioritise Visa Appointments For Nigerian Students

An image of the U.S. flag.
An image of the U.S. flag.

 

The United States Mission in Nigeria on Friday announced that it will prioritize student visa applicants and ensure Nigerian students resuming this Fall (September) get visa interview appointments well in advance of their program start date.

According to Country Consular Coordinator, Susan Tuller, US offices in Lagos and Abuja will make every effort to assist student visa applicants in a timely fashion while keeping personnel and customers safe.

“As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and customers, processing student visas remains a high priority for the U.S. Mission in Nigeria,” Tuller said, in a statement made available to journalists by the US Embassy.

“We will increase the number of student visa appointments in May and June to ensure that we can offer appointments to as many students as possible. If your U.S. studies are scheduled to begin this Fall, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as quickly as possible.”

Tuller explained that all student visa appointments must be booked through the U.S. Travel Docs website at www.ustraveldocs.com/ng/. She warned applicants against the use of third-party services, including touts, and fixers who broker visa appointments.

According to her, agents or third parties often seek to benefit by charging a fee for their services and they may not always provide the correct information, which can harm an applicant’s chances of qualifying for the visa.

“Both Nigeria and the United States benefit when Nigerian students study at one of our world-class educational institutions. To prepare for your U.S. educational opportunity, we encourage you to check out EducationUSA Advising Centers at our American Spaces in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Calabar, or at educationUSA.state.gov,” she added.

Nigeria sends more students to American colleges and universities than any other country in Africa and is the eleventh largest source worldwide of international students to the United States. In academic year 2019-2020, a record-breaking number of nearly 14,000 Nigerians pursued graduate and undergraduate degrees in the United States.

Over the last 21 years, the EducationUSA Advising Centers in Nigeria have directly contributed to an increase in the number of highly qualified Nigerian applicants to U.S. institutions. In 2020, advisees of EducationUSA services received scholarships worth $28 million.

Additional information on U.S. travel and student visas is available at travel.state.gov or ng.usembassy.gov.

US ‘Deeply Saddened’ By Killing Of Five Aid Workers In Borno

A screengrab from the video showing the execution of five men by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.

 

 

The US Embassy in Nigeria says it is saddened by the execution of five humanitarian workers by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

A video had surfaced online showing the execution of the aid workers by masked men in military camouflage.

In a statement on Thursday, the US Embassy in Nigeria said the five aid workers were working tirelessly to ease the sufferings of millions of Nigerians in the Northeastern part of the country.

“We are deeply saddened by the execution of five humanitarian workers by terrorists in Northeast Nigeria,” the Embassy tweeted on its handle.

“This comes against a backdrop of deteriorating conditions for millions of Nigerians. These brave individuals dedicated their lives to easing human suffering.

“We hope that their families and colleagues can take comfort in their selfless sacrifices on behalf of others. We will remember their dedication to others.”

A voice was heard speaking in Hausa before the execution, saying that the five persons were working for infidels.

“Those of you that are being used by infidels to turn others to infidels, know this today oh, you who work for infidel groups, you satisfy their aims but they do not care about you and that is why when we catch you they do not show concern. Our call to you is to repent and follow Allah; we shall waylay you in all the roads that you follow and if you don’t listen, the fate of these ones will befall you,” the voice said.

The execution immediately followed his speech at the cue of another voice that said “bisimillah.”

The slain persons are believed to be aid workers captured during a raid in Monguno Local Government of Borno State on June 13, 2020.

They include staff of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, International Rescue Committee and a security guard.

The execution came after the insurgents demanded the sum of 500,000 dollars to release them.

 

George Floyd: Staff At US Embassy In Nigeria Join Protest For Justice

 

The staff of the United States Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, showed their support in the call for justice regarding the killing of African-American, George Floyd, by the police.

In a photo posted by the Embassy on Monday staff could be seen going down on one knee, a gesture that shows support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in America and across the globe.

According to the tweet, the US Mission to Nigeria said it joined together in 84 seconds of silence in solidarity with those at home and around the world protesting the murders of George Floyd & others.

The Mission’s statement further said that it sincerely hopes that everyone will learn from this episode and use it as inspiration to create a better world.

READ ALSO: US Accuses China Of Using Floyd Death For Propaganda

 

Man Charged With Raping Five-Year-Old Girl At US Embassy In Delhi

Indian flag

 

An Indian man has been charged with raping a five-year-old girl on the premises of the US embassy in India’s capital New Delhi, police said Thursday.

The 25-year-old was arrested at the high-security compound on Sunday a day after the alleged incident at the living quarters for local housekeeping staff.

Police officer Yogesh Kumar told AFP preliminary medical tests confirmed the girl had been raped. The man was charged under child rape laws that carry the death penalty.

The sprawling diplomatic compound is one of the most secure in Delhi, with multiple layers of manned and electronic security.

A US Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi said Friday that it was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations and it took “prompt action” including reporting the incident to the police and helping arrange medical assistance.

“We are cooperating with the Indian-led investigation. We extend our sympathy and full support to the child and her family,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

India is struggling to combat a growing number of sexual assault cases in the country.

Violence against women in the South Asian nation has been under the international spotlight following the brutal gang-rape and murder of a Delhi student on a bus in 2012.

Almost 34,000 rapes were reported in 2018, according to official data, with activists claiming the figure is just the tip of the iceberg.

Experts said most child victims are known to their abusers, with their families frequently choosing not to report the crimes to authorities amid social taboos against speaking out.

AFP

Three Rockets Fired Close To US Embassy In Baghdad

 

Three rockets hit near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital’s high-security Green Zone, security sources told AFP, with no immediate reports of casualties. 

Sirens could be heard across the zone immediately after the rockets made an impact.

The US has blamed Iran-backed paramilitary groups for a spate of similar attacks in recent months on the Green Zone, but there has never been a claim of responsibility.

AFP

Rockets Hit Baghdad Green Zone Housing US Embassy In Iraq

 

Two rockets crashed late Wednesday into the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, the high-security enclave where foreign embassies including the US mission are based, security sources told AFP.

The attack came nearly 24 hours after Tehran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing American and other coalition forces in retaliation for the US killing top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.

Just before midnight, AFP’s correspondents in Baghdad heard two loud blasts followed by the wailing security sirens of the Green Zone.

The strikes were in retaliation for a US drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis last week.

Muhandis had been the deputy head of the Hashed al-Shaabi, a web of armed groups incorporated into the Iraqi state but which also have close ties to Tehran.

The United States had accused Hashed groups of being behind a string of rocket attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad and bases hosting American troops across the country.

On Wednesday, the Hashed’s hardline factions vowed they, too, would take revenge for the US raid.

Paramilitary chief Qais al-Khazali — blacklisted as a “terrorist” by the US — said Iraq’s response to the US “will be no less than the size of the Iranian response.”

Harakat al-Nujaba, a hardline Hashed faction, vowed to avenge Muhandis.

“To American soldiers: Do not close your eyes. Revenge for the martyr Muhandis is coming at the hands of Iraqis — until the last soldier among you leaves,” it said.

AFP

Iraq PM Asks Protesters To Leave US Embassy ‘Immediately’

Several thousand Iraqi protesters, waving national flags and banners of the Hashed al-Shaabi demonstrate outside the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31, 2019. AFP

 

Iraq’s caretaker premier Adel Abdel Mahdi said Tuesday that crowds that had stormed the US embassy in anger at deadly US air strikes should leave the compound “immediately.”

Demonstrators had breached the embassy walls in protest at the Sunday strikes that killed at least 25 fighters from a hardline pro-Iran faction known as Kataeb Hezbollah.

“We recall that any aggression or harassment of foreign embassies will be firmly prohibited by the security forces,” Abdel Mahdi’s office said several hours after the attack began.

AFP

Cars Torched Near US Embassy In Athens

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

 

Seven cars were burned near the US embassy in Athens on Monday, state agency ANA said. Nobody was hurt.

The pre-dawn arson attack is consistent with prior far-left acts.

Police found an empty plastic bottle on the scene, a few blocks behind the embassy, ANA said.

Greek far-left and anarchist groups often carry out arson attacks against foreign embassy and business targets in the country.

AFP

US Re-Opens Embassy In Somalia After 30 Years

This aerial view taken on September 19, 2019, shows Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Tina SMOLE / AFP

 

 

The United States said Wednesday it had re-opened an embassy in Somalia’s capital, 28 years after it was shut as the country plunged into civil war, highlighting warming ties between the two nations. 

Washington closed its embassy during the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre’s military regime which ushered in decades of chaos, however, diplomatic relations have strengthened in recent years.

“Today we reaffirm the relations between the American people and the Somali people and our two nations,” said Ambassador Donald Yamamoto in a statement.

“It is a significant and historic day that reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years, and another step forward in regularising U.S. diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognising the federal government of Somalia in 2013.”

A permanent diplomatic presence was established in Mogadishu in December 2018, however, was operated out of Nairobi.

The country continues to be wracked by an Islamist insurgency, and Al-Shabaab militants on Monday staged an attack on a military base that is a major launching site for US drone operations, as well as a European Union convoy.

US strikes in Somalia surged in April 2017, after President Donald Trump declared the south of the country an “area of active hostilities”.

“The United States remains a strong partner to Somalia in its effort to build a stable, credible, and democratic country,” said the statement.

AFP

US Denies Banning Student Visa For Nigerians

 

The United States Mission in Nigeria has denied that it placed a ban on the issuing of student visas to Nigerians.

According to a brief statement issued by the embassy on Monday, the commission said the media reports claiming that a ban was placed, is false, hence describing them as ‘fake news’.

READ ALSO: United States Judge Orders Separated Families Be Reunited

Last week, some reports claimed that the U.S. immigration office had put a hold on issuing student’s visa, claiming that the decision was a new measure to impose visa restrictions on countries whose citizens have a track record of overstaying beyond the validity of their short-term US visas.

However, the U.S mission said claims are unfounded and urged the public to disregard the claims.

Consular Officers Do Not Enjoy Refusing Anyone A Visa – US Embassy

Consular Officers Do Not Enjoy Refusing Anyone A Visa – US Embassy
Photo: [email protected]

 

The United States Embassy in Nigeria has reacted to the outcry over the rate at which applicants are being denied visa in the country.

In separate posts on its Twitter and Facebook handles on Monday, the embassy explained that it consular officers do not gain anything by denying those seeking to travel to the US visa.

It, however, appealed to Nigerians to join its visa officers live on Facebook on Wednesday to know why they were denied visa as a result of “commonly misunderstood questions” in the course of their applications.

READ ALSOCommit Extra-Judicial Killing And Get Prosecuted, Police Boss Warns Personnel

The Twitter post read, “Contrary to popular opinion, Consular Officers do not enjoy refusing anyone a visa. Proof: Join us on Facebook for demonstrations on how to complete the DS 160 correctly.  April 17 | 2:00pm #AskTheConsul.”

The Facebook post also read “Contrary to popular opinion, Visa Officers do not enjoy handing anyone the 214b refusal letter. Proof: Visa Officers will be live on Facebook to talk about some of the commonly misunderstood questions on the DS 160 and help you improve your next application.

“Join us on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 2:00pm and #AskTheConsul your questions.”

But the explanation by the embassy has triggered various reactions from visa applicants on both Twitter and Facebook.

Most of them criticised the embassy and narrated their experience when they went for an interview.

Read some tweets below:

 

Read some of the reactions on Facebook below:

Adaobi Emmanuella Njoku Contrary to what you just posted, I think and believe they actually do enjoy it because they act like they know it all and still end up giving visas to people without genuine intentions.
I can’t wait for Wednesday to come because I have already prepared my questions down. They will explain to me how it is possible to deny one visa three times with three different reasons at different times when the form was filled exactly the same and for the same purpose. For a medical trip to help save ones child. I can’t wait for Wednesday.

Kelechi Okoh I have a great job, my husband, 2 kids, properties you still denied me visa for child birth because I do not have strong ties. Really!
I can never leave my family for anything. Am alive and keep working because of them.
I was shocked at the consular officer. She did not even look at any of my documents.

Adebayo Lastborn Adebola Even when you answer all questions, they will still deny you visa

Ogbeni Samuel Adeleke Adejimi Thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask questions relating to common mistakes that led to visa denial based on DS 160 form.
I’ve had 5 different experience.
Will surely join the consular officer by 2pm on Wednesday to ask my questions.

Akufai Valentine Jonah Had a terrible experience in 2013. I got scholarship to attend a conference in Denver but was denied visa. I was not angry because i was denied visa, I was angry in the manner of the disrespect from the consular officer. Imagine giving one that refusal letter and you are told off you go without any tangible explanation, after reading the letter, it states that i don’t have strong ties to my country either through being married, niether do i have a job and back then i use to work with an NGO and it was clearly stated in my application, i have forgotten the third excuse. I just laughed and left, I know people who are single then and are still single today that have gotten US visa, i know people who have no job but have gotten US visa, i know people who had zero travel experience but yet were granted US visa. Since that episode i have never ever applied for a U S visa because i don’t have any business there for now. Me, I would never get marry because i want to secure a US visa, Who sets the rule on what is “Strong ties”? Just a way to allow someone play “God”. For me, you get US visa base on which side of the bed the consular officer interviewing you wakes up from.

Eunice Erusiafe My son was denied 3 times without any reason, he is going 4 a open heart surgery,(congenital heart defect )d boy is going tru a lot of pains right now I pray God sends help 2 us.

Ufoeze Oge Uc To think I stood before a staff and the first thing he asked me was What does your husband do? I answered “Sir am not married” the next thing I heard was sorry ma you are not qualified for this visa. So it’s now a must to be married.

When people are sincere they are denied, I can’t lie because I want to go to another man’s land. Anyway na me find them go.
Till Wednesday afternoon.

Bayo Akintunde #AskTheConsul This will be a very interesting session. To understand what drives visa officers decisions despite glaring evidences.

Adebiyi Oduyoye You should return the visa fee when you deny an applicant.

Akande Ademola Why then do you guys have delight in reject people even though their documents are genuine and their traveling intent is true

Mustapha Afinni I don’t need your visa even, if it’s free”

Kuti Oluwafuntan Abiola In a situation whr ds-160 was filled correctly buh b4 u answered the question bn asked by d consular,d refusal form is already in her hand…

Zanni Waherb Why not return the visa Fee after denying an applicant instead you chop d money and tell them to apply again😏😏😏like you did for me 2yrs ago.