The United States Consulate in Lagos on Friday declared that the issue of US visa for anyone, irrespective of social standing in the society, is strictly a confidential matter, which the US Government will not discuss in public.
Public Affairs Officer (PAO), US Consulate, Lagos, Mr. Brussel Brooks made this known against the backdrop of the controversies surrounding the US visa status of former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Brooks spoke during an education forum organised for 150 teachers and students drawn from various public schools in Oyo State.
Abubakar is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the next year’s elections.
The programme, entitled, “Teaching Resources: Availability, Applicability and Appropriateness” which took place at the Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, was organised by Fulbright Language Scholars’ Association under the leadership of Miss Tolu Akinwole.
According to Brooks, the case of Atiku’s US visa status has been an issue in the papers for some time, but “the position of the US Mission has remained the same throughout any discussion of this issue, that visas are a confidential matter.”
He said, “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.”
Brooks who enjoined candidates at all levels to focus on issue-based campaigns and avoid distractions, also advised Nigerians to ask candidates the plan they have to improve education.
He said, “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”.
Akinwole while speaking said the association, being funded by the United States Consulate, has trained a total of 350 teachers in Oyo and Ondo States in 2018.
She said that this was done 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”.