Jeffery Hawkins, U.S. Consul-General, on Thursday, gave reasons why Nigeria was banned from participating in its 2015 Diversity-Visa-Programme registration.
Mr Hawkins told journalists at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, that Nigeria was among other countries that had in the last five years, sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. through the programme.
“As at today, Nigerians have graduated from being under-represented to being a fully well represented group in the U.S,” he said. “There is therefore no longer any need to encourage Nigerians to apply to travel to the U.S. through the Diversity-Visa-Programme. Already there are too many Nigerians in the U.S. that have benefited from this programme.”
The envoy explained that the diversity visa was created to promote countries with low rates of immigration to the US.
He, however, said that the U.S. authorities would continue to give preference to Nigerians travelling to U.S for visits, business transactions, studies and professional engagements.
“All other types of immigration from Nigeria to the US, apart from the diversity visa, would continue unabated,” he said. “Also, let me say that the ban has nothing to do with our relations with Nigeria now, and in the years ahead.”
He also dismissed insinuations making the rounds that the move was to reduce the number of Nigerians travelling to the U.S.
The U.S official also said that the development had “nothing to do with insecurity, activities of Boko Haram and other forms of upheaval in Nigeria”.
The U.S. Department of State recently banned Nigeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador and Haiti from participating in the 2015 Diversity-Visa-Programme. Other affected countries are: India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, U. K. and Vietnam.
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