This Day (Lagos)

7 December 2012

Nigeria: U.S. to Make Visa Service Easier for Nigerians, Says Hawkins

The United States Embassy in Nigeria has reiterated its efforts towards making visa service easier for Nigerians by reducing the time people spend while applying for American visa.

This was made known yesterday when the Embassy's Consul General, Mr. Jeffery J Hawkins, paid a courtesy visit to THISDAY Head office in Lagos.

He pointed out that the numbers of applicants increase every day with no commensurate consular officers to attend to people, necessitating the delay in the process.

Hawkins said the Embassy has however put in place strategies at assuaging the challenge as the States Department has been informed of the situation and that steps are been taken on the issue.

The envoy said the waiting time for visa has drastically reduced in recent times owing to the extra efforts put in by consular officers.

Speaking on the duration of visa issued to Nigerians, he said it is decided on reciprocal bases because the United States' duration of visa is usually the same with that issued by the country where the mission is situated.

He noted that the increment of duration would help in reducing the number of people who come to the embassy to seek for visa renewals.

On Nigerian democracy, Hawkins made reference to Ondo State election in which he was part of the US observer mission and stated that he was encouraged by Nigerian democracy and 'by the numbers of political parties represented, and the civil societies" that participated in the election.

He stated that there have been dialogues and policy partnership between the two countries to address the matter of terrorism in Nigeria with the setting up of a Bi-National commission, the diplomatic platform on which many issues that concern both countries, including Nigeria Delta questions are discussed.

He said the United States has embarked on trainings for the Nigerian Navy in combating terrorism, saying however that there is need for work to be done by the government to stop the violence and human right violations.

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