The Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, has carpeted former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 general elections, Atiku Abubakar, for not knowing the difference between a visa ban and a visa restriction.
The BMO, said that Nigerians are only restricted from Immigration visa, and that other visa categories are still available to Nigerians who qualify for them.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, the group said that rather than gleefully celebrate the visa restrictions, Atiku should be remorseful, in that his party, the PDP, is responsible for this inconvenience caused to Nigerians.
“The United States (US) visa restriction, engendered by the US Department of Homeland Security, is symbolic; to show security concern over two issues. One is the printing of the Nigerian passport, and the other is the storage of data and other vital information on the holders of the Passport.
“Now, these are crucial matters in a world where information sharing is of the utmost essence in the face of security challenges everywhere. The Nigerian passport was being printed by a company in Malaysia, before the PDP gave it out to an Irish company.”
The BMO said that the PDP government then in power, signed a double-faced contract, which was renewed just two weeks before handing over, in 2015. “In one breath, the contract was to last for four years, but in another breath, it was agreed that the said contract would not lapse until the company has printed 10 million copies of the travel document.
“As we speak, only 3 million copies of the Nigerian passport has been printed by this company. This and the huge volume of vital information being held by this Irish company, has created a huge security nightmare for concerned Security Agencies.”
According to the BMO, the International Criminal Police Organisation, more commonly known as INTERPOL, had actually reported that Nigeria was not sharing information. “So, Nigerians can see what problems the PDP has brought upon the country.
“In an effort to redress the situation, President Buhari gave a directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to domicile the printing of the nation’s passport at the Security Printing and Minting Corporation.
“Unfortunately, this directive could not be executed, because of legal issues raised by the Irish company contracted by the PDP government.
“No doubt, the embarrassing inclusion of Nigeria in the travel restriction by the US, is one of the prices we have to pay for the crimes of past PDP governments, and their proclivity to shoddy handling of sensitive matters of State, while they wallow in money laundering and other financial crimes”, the statement added.