by Isi Esene
The Federal Government has expressed its displeasure over the shabby treatment meted out to Nigerians at the Canadian embassy.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday to the Canadian high commissioner to Nigeria, Chris Cooter, the minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashirucomplained about the excessive delays in the processing of visas which according to reports lasts 45 days.
The statement, which was made public by the ministry’s spokesman, Mr. Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, pointed out the cordial business and diplomatic relationship between Canada and Nigeria, a relationship which should serve as a basis of engagement between both countries.
The statement read:
“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, characterised by excessive delays in processing visa applications.
“The 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 minister concluded by suggesting to Ambassador Cooter that rather than his mission holding on to Nigerian visa applicants’ passports, the mission should make do with photocopies of the data pages and 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 application by the Canadian mission.”
In his response to the statement, Ambassador Cooter acknowledged the complaint and promised to forward the letter to authorities in his home country for consideration.