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US defends Nigeria visa exclusion

20 September 2013, 08:30Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The United States of America explained the exclusion of Nigeria from the 2015 diversity visa lottery.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, Jeffery Hawkins, US Consular- General, said the West African country was among a number countries that had in the last five years exceeded its quota of nationals benefiting from the scheme.

During the period, Nigeria, he said, sent more than 50 000 immigrants to the US through the programme.

Hawkins explained that Nigerians have graduated from being under-represented to being a fully well-represented group in the US.

He added that there was therefore no need to encourage Nigerians to apply to travel to the US through the Diversity-Visa-Programme.

“Already there are too many Nigerians in the US that have benefited from this programme," he said.

The envoy explained that the diversity visa was created to promote countries with low rates of immigration to the US.

Hawkins however stressed that his country's government would continue giving preference to Nigerians travelling to US for private 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.

Other country excluded from the lottery along with Nigeria include Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

The US official said the insecurity, activities of Boko Haram and other forms of upheaval in Nigeria did not influence the decision.

- CAJ News

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