The Public Affairs Officer, PAO, of the United States of America, USA, consulate in Lagos, Brussel Brooks on Friday, in a chat with newsmen said issuance of visa to Nigerians irrespective of their social standing is strictly a confidential matter.
He said US Government will not discuss such confidentiality in public.
At an Education Forum, held at the Distance Learning Center, University of Ibadan, the PAO was apparently reacting to the controversies surrounding the US visa status of former vice president of Nigeria and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar.
The programme, entitled: ‘Teaching Resources: Availability, Applicability and Appropriateness,’ was organised by Fulbright Language Scholars’ Association under the leadership of Miss Tolu Akinwole, who said the association, being funded by the United States Consulate, has trained a total of 350 teachers in Oyo and Ondo States in 2018 with a view to igniting vibrant teachers and provide solutions to observed “inability of students to apply lessons they learn in classrooms to everyday life”.
According to him, the case of Atiku’s US visa status has been an issue in the papers for sometime, but ”the position of the US Mission has remained the same throughout any discussion of this issue, that visas are a confidential matter.
“We don’t discuss individual visa’s 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 private document by the United States Government, and we never discuss them now public”.
The PAO, who enjoined candidates at all levels, especially presidential, governorship and National Assembly, to focus on issue-based campaigns and avoid distractions, also advised Nigerians to ask candidates at all levels the plan they have to improve education.
Brooks added, “Often times 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 for them is to give them the opportunities to serve in order to thrive in today’s world.
“This means they need a good education. The school should be improved. When I heard the letter from the students describing their lack of books and dearth of desks in their school. 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”.