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By cmpcd mfa

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, OFR, yesterday, Thursday August 30th 2012, summoned the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E. Chris Cooter, to his office to register the Federal Government's protest on how Nigerian visa applicants are being treated at the Canadian High Commission.

He recalled the very warm relations between the two countries, citing the example of the presence of a major Canadian company, Manitoba Hydro in Nigeria's power sector. He further recalled that the Bi-National Commission between the two countries has been inked, paving the way for the deepening our relations, especially in the economic sector.

It is against this background that the Honourable Minister expressed to the Canadian High Commissioner his disappointment at the manner the Canadian Mission in Nigeria was maltreating Nigerian Visa applicants, characterized by excessive delays in processing visa applications. The Honourable Minister declared as unacceptable the waiting period of a minimum of 45 working days for Nigerian visa applicants, to receive a response from the Canadian authorities.

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded by suggesting to Ambassador Chris Cooter that rather than his Mission holding on to Nigeria visa applicant's passports, the Mission should make do with photocopies of the data pages and to sight the passports. Thereafter, the passports can be surrendered to the Mission only at the point of issuance of visas. This will allow passport holders the opportunity to use their passports for other travels, pending the approval of their visa Applications by the Canadian Mission.

In his response, Ambassador Cooter pledged to report the concerns expressed by the Honourable Minister to the appropriate authorities in Ottawa.

It is in the same vein that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to commend the statement published in some National Dailies yesterday and credited to a US Consular Officer, Patty Neary to the effect that Nigeria, alongside Brazil and China, have been categorized as a “priority country” in the visa approval policy.

The Honourable Minister expressed profound pleasure at the decision of both Missions, to allocate more officers and facilities for the issuance of visas to Nigerians.

Ogbole Amedu Ode
Public Communications Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Tafawa Balewa House,