President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria is making progress to reverse the United States’ suspension of the issuance of immigrant visas to Nigerian passport holders.
The President stated this while receiving the report of the committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
The committee was set up in February, this year, the same period the US placed the temporary ban, to among others, review the visa restrictions and develop systems and processes that would address the security concerns raised.
The committee had among other things recommended the establishment of a National Criminal Information Management, fashioned after the INTERPOL model, and a National Criminal DNA Laboratory, to aid criminal investigation, administration of criminal justice as well as sharing of relevant information.
Commending the committee for its patriotic diligence in carrying out the assignment, President Buhari assured Nigerians and the international community of the timely implementation of the committee’s recommendations after due consideration.
He noted that the implementation of the far-reaching recommendations as articulated in the Report would fully address all outstanding issues that led to the visa restrictions.
Accordingly, the Committee’s recommendations on the strategies for harmonising existing databases, improving the infrastructure for the National Identity Database, as well as a review of the supervisory mechanism of the National Identity Management Commission, would be given serious consideration.
The Minister, Alhaji Aregbesola, had said that the committee was also to review the status of Nigeria’s numerous citizen identification data, including biometrics, held by different ministries, departments and agencies, and propose strategies for their harmonisation.
The suspension, however, does not apply to other U.S visas, such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.