‘Visa for preacher in order’

The Federal Government on Sunday said it had not done anything wrong in granting visa to an alleged extremist and Islamic terror preacher, Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips.

An online medium had reported that Philips who lives in Qatar had been issued a Nigerian visa to visit and preach in the country.

The preacher was said to have already been banned from entering countries such as Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America and Kenya.

The report said Philips celebrated his visa issuance with his followers on his Facebook page on Saturday morning, when he wrote, “Al hamdu lillaah. I just got a visa for Nigeria and will be going there in a few days, in shaa Allaah. So, I hope to see all my Nigerian brothers and sisters. Baarakallaahu feekum.”

Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, told State House correspondents that the fact that somebody was denied visa by other countries could not be a reason for such person to be denied visa in Nigeria since the country had its visa requirements.

Moro said it would be wrong for any applicant to be denied Nigerian visa after meeting the requirements.

He however said the government would not hesitate to deport whoever was found to be engaging in activities that were inimical to the security of the country.

He said, “Every country has its own requirement for the granting of visa  and in Nigeria’s situation especially against the backdrop of our security challenges, we also have our requirement for granting of visas.

“We have our own blacklist of people that because of our security situation should not be allowed into the country.

“And if this preacher that you talk about for instance did not fall within the list of people blacklisted for their activities that are inimical to internal security; If he is preaching and the content of what he has submitted for the granting of visa will not undermine the security of the country, then certainly we will grant him the visa. That is the purpose we have achieved here.

“Let me also say here that we should not set some double standards, when the Nigerian government signed the anti-gay law and the West was complaining, we stated that Nigerian nation is a sovereign country that should be allowed to determine its destiny and practices.”

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