The Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) has denied the report that the Ekiti state governor and Chairman of the Forum of 36 states governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi was denied visa application to the United States of America.
An online platform (not THECITIZEN) had alleged that the Ekiti state governor was denied entry visa by the United States Embassy in Nigeria on Friday, fuelling speculation that the United States was already walking its talks to restrict key officials of government for their alleged role in the last general elections.
The United States had last July threatened to impose visa restrictions on Nigerians it said were involved in trying to undermine democracy in presidential and parliamentary elections this year.
The U.S. State Department, however, did not name the individuals or say how many were affected by the visa restrictions.
The statement attributed to spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the US was determined to axe individuals who tried to undermine the electoral process last March.
“These individuals have operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and undermined democratic principles and human rights, ” Ortagus was quoted to have said.
But the NGF in a statement last night signed by Abdulrazaque Bello Barkindo Head Media and Public Affairs said Dr Fayemi whom it noted just returned from the United States where he attended the United Nation’s General Assembly could not have been denied entry to the United States.
The statement claimed the Ekiti state governor “retrieved his passport because of a crucial speaking engagement at the AfDB Africa Investment Forum in South Africa on Monday, 11th November 2019.”
The statement further read in part: “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum wishes to correct the mischievous report of 247Ureport on the United States’ visa application of its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi.
“Governor Fayemi, like every other Nigerian citizen intending to visit the US, applied for a visa, attended his interview and was requested to pay the statutory visa acceptance fee by the US Consulate.
“The Governor’s visa application was not denied.
“Anyone conversant with US Visa application procedure knows that applicants are now routinely taken through administrative processing before visas are issued.
“When the American Embassy indicated that the visa may not be ready by Friday, 8th November, Dr Fayemi retrieved his passport because of a crucial speaking engagement at the AfDB Africa Investment Forum in South Africa on Monday, 11th November 2019.
“It is imperative to mention here that the NGF Chairman, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, only just returned from the United States where he attended the United Nation’s General Assembly where the NGF organized a high-level side meeting on the 27th of September 2019.
“It is also important, at this juncture, to caution journalists on the rush to print, as blatant mischief, laden with glaring untruths as contained in the narrative, can drag the journalism profession to disrepute. Knowing Dr Fayemi, it is virtually impossible to associate him with the uncouth behaviour…
“Meanwhile, the trip to the United States is at the instance of the Dangote Foundation in concert with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and it is on course.”