by ‘Jola Sotubo
Against the backdrop of terrorist attacks in Nigeria, the Federal Government is said to have granted a visa for entry into the country to a controversial cleric who is said to be a preacher of terror.
Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips is said to have been banned from several countries, including Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America and Kenya for his open support of and advocacy for terrorism.
The government through the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, explained the visa grant by stating that Philips had met all the requirements necessary and as such could not be denied a visa.
The Telegraph reports:
Philips who lives in Qatar has been issued a Nigerian Visa to visit and preach in the Country.
Reports had it that the cleric celebrated his Visa issuance with his followers on his facebook on Sunday morning, saying, “Al hamdu lillaah. I just got a visa for Nigeria and will be going there in a few days, in shaa allaah. So, I hope to see all my Nigerian brothers and sisters. Baarakallaahu feekum”.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Minister of Interior noted that every country has its own requirement for the grant visa and in Nigeria’s situation especially against “the back drop of our security challenges, we also have our requirement for granting of visas.
“We have our own blacklist too of people that because of our security situation should not be allowed into country.
“And if this preacher that you talk about for instance did not fall within the list of people blacklisted for their activities that are inimical to internal security. If he is preaching and the content of what he has submitted for the granting of visa that will not undermine the security of the country, then certainly we will grant him the visa. That is the purpose we have achieved here”.
He further said it was double standards, as “when the Nigerian government signed the anti- gay law and the west was complaining, we stated that Nigeria nation is a sovereign country that should be allowed to determine it’s destiny and practices”.
He added that Nigeria will therefore not use” the refusal of visa by Germany, UK as a basis for refusing anybody visa here.
“I can assure you that the nigerian security personnel are equal to the task of detecting whose activities that are inimical to the situation of this country.
“Any moment that his preaching and activities are seen to be inimical to the security of this country I can assure you that we are up to the task of repatriating him as soon as possible.
“And his specific activities in this country guides the request that he has made which has also guided the action of the Nigerian immigration service in granting the visa.
“Apart from the preacher any other person that gains entry to this country whose activities undermine the integrity and security of this country will be properly treated.”