Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday clarified that the United States Embassy in Nigeria did not deny its Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi visa contrary to reports on the social media.
The forum made the clarification in a statement its Head of Communication, Mr. Razak Bello Barkindo issued yesterday, saying the governor was not denied any visa as reported.
Contrary to some reports, the statement explained Fayemi withdrew his international passport from the US Embassy because it clashed with his earlier schedules in South Africa.
The statement read in part: “Fayemi, like every other Nigerian citizen intending to visit the US, applied for a visa, attended his interview and was requested to pay the statutory visa acceptance fee by the US Consulate.
“The governor’s visa application was not denied. Anyone conversant with US Visa application procedure knows that applicants are now routinely taken through administrative processing before visas are issued.
“When the American Embassy indicated that the visa may not be ready by Friday, November 8, Fayemi retrieved his passport because of a crucial speaking engagement at the AfDB Africa Investment Forum in South Africa on Monday, November 11.
“It is imperative to mention here that Fayemi, only just returned from the United States where he attended the United Nation’s General Assembly where the NGF organised a high-level side meeting on September 27.
“It is also important, at this juncture, to caution journalists on the rush to print, as blatant mischief, laden with glaring untruths as contained in the 247Ureports narrative, can drag the journalism profession to disrepute.
“Knowing Fayemi, it is virtually impossible to associate him with the uncouth behaviour that 247Ureports dramatised”, the statement stated. .
Meanwhile, the statement said that the trip to the United States is at the instance of the Dangote Foundation in concert with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and it is on course.
The forum said that the foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “have partnered for years on several global health and development initiatives in Nigeria.
“In partnership with the NGF, the two foundations are hosting a group of executive governors in Seattle to discuss how to expand support of routine immunization and polio eradication efforts to help strengthen Nigeria’s primary health care system and the Human Capital Development agenda.
“The visit will foster a deeper understanding of the state government’s development priorities within the context of the Human Capital Development framework and harvest perspectives to better inform joint strategies for greater impact and progress in meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”