re – Canada denies Nigerian teenagers entry visa

Oyewole

By Peter Nkanga

August 1, 2009 11:00AMT

The Canadian government denies visas to two Nigerian students for being students, while Nigerian government officials do nothing.

When Oluwaseun Oyewole and Adeolu Adeyemi began preparing to represent Nigeria at the seventh Certiport worldwide competition on Microsoft Office software application in Canada, they never knew that the host country would deny them visas because they were students.

In the refusal letter to the two students of Thomas Adewumi International College in Kwara State, dated July 15, the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria wrote that the two 16-year-old’s current employment situation was not satisfactory. The Commission’s visa officer also told them that they would run away if allowed to participate at the competition starting July 30 to August 1, 2009.

“I have travelled abroad several times before. In my passport I have UK, American and French visas. So I was shocked when I learned the Canadian embassy denied us visas because they said we would run away,” Miss Oyewole said.

The Sponsors

Edna Agusto, the Managing Director of ReadManna Ventures Limited, Certiport’s Nigerian partners, further faulted the Canadian government for their action. She presented all relevant documents that should have guaranteed visas for the children.

“It’s obvious the visa officer didn’t look at the papers we submitted. If not, why should they be denied visas because of their current employment situation when they are students and not workers? When they came to Lagos to collect their prizes, they even came in their uniforms,” Mrs. Agusto said.

The founder of Thomas Adewumi International College in Kwara State, John Adewumi, said all required documents were submitted.

“Our school is on holidays now, but I assure you that we shall write to the Canadian ambassador when we resume in September to complain about what we consider an embarrassment. Above all, I think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may have to do more for Nigerians of all cadre to get better respect from the various Consular Offices,” he said.

The Canadian High Commission in an email response to NEXT said, “We are sorry, we do not deal with third parties under the Privacy Act”.

An inactive Nigerian government

Since Monday this week, copies of 14 documents the children submitted to the Canadian embassy were forwarded to the House of Representatives committee chairman on Foreign Affairs, Umaru Bature and the Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman, Ayo Olukanmi. Mr. Bature said he would look into the matter while Mr. Olukanmi said not much could be done.

“I advise the handlers of the kids to bring the issue to the attention of the director, Consular service in the ministry. If they come with all necessary documents to Abuja, we can appeal to the Canadian authorities. That’s what we can do,” Mr. Olukanmi said.

All phone calls and text messages sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe and the Senate committee chairman on Foreign Affairs, Jubril Aminu, were unanswered.

What was submitted

Some of the documents submitted to the Canadian Embassy included Certiport’s Letter of Invitation, the children’s international passports, letters of consent from the children’s parents, bank drafts for visa fees, the company’s (Readmanna) certificate of incorporation and bank statement, Lufthansa airline return tickets worth over $7,000 and pictures of the children in their school uniform when they received their prizes as published in national dailies.

Certiport’s invitation letter, signed by the company’s president and CEO, Ray Kelly, read “all travel arrangements, including roundtrip airfare have been purchased by and are under the control of Certiport and its partners. Over the years, we have hosted hundreds of guests and participants… We are pleased to be able to say that… all of those participants have been faithful in complying with the terms of their visas and have returned to their home countries in a timely manner after their brief stays abroad.”

source: http://www.234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/News/Metro/5440539-147/story.csp

Isn’t it unbelievable that while American Sean Alsilski(below) travelled from America to Nigeria, on a Hawking Research grant, and actually sold Gala on the streets of Lagos, Nigerian kids who are to represent Nigeria in an international competition in Canada are denied visas?

Sean-alsilski

Ofcourse, America is not Canada and vice-versa, but I would like to know what kind of visa Mr Sean has. Student-Visa or Hawking-Visa?

Or perhaps, can’t the Canadian Embassy differentiate between a student/s who is to represent his/her country in an international competition and another who has no reason for travelling abroad?

I have always questioned the applicability of the word ‘reciprocity’ especially in the diplomatic circles.

your opinions are welcome!!

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13 responses

  1. This is sad. Certiport’s worldwide Microsoft Office competition is held, in large part, to help close the digital divide in places like Nigeria. It encourages youth to learn the skills that will help them and their nation. These youth worked hard to earn their spot in the competition. Canadian officials should be proud to have them in their country.

  2. This is not sad or surprising. I do not see what canadians have that suggest that Nigerians will run when there are many illiterate Canadians in Nigeria working offshores and taking our monies away. I only blame our government for allowig this kind of act to continue else the lady at the counter at the Canadian embassy at Lagos would not have even been allowed into this country as her level of education is not up to the standard of those kids.
    Nigerian government should keep barring Canadians into this country as they have been doing as they have absolutely nothing to offer Nigerians.

  3. This is not unusual with many “Advanced” countries’ perception of our noble nation. I cannot blame such Embassies but our “Good-For-Nothing” political leaders, whom we’ve faithfully and unanimously elected in the past to protect the future of these Kids, their pride and dignity in the world context. I will undauntedly blame many of our Presidents, Governors, “These-so-called Senators” that finally mutated us and turn our global image into infectious parasites.

  4. Hi everyone,

    It is truly a sad story but the truth must be told. For this particular one i refuse to blame the politicians.In Canada as a whole,Nigeria has the highest number of assylum seekers. sorry to say this, am Nigerian but canadian by citizenship.And do you know that for every 20 Nigerian who are currently citizens or permanent residents 14 got their status through assylum. We never struggle to work it out through education like the asians and chinese.A lot of people come here for visiting or conference and never goes back to Nigeria.WHY!!!! Please you guys should leave canada alone.How many canadians are seeking assylum in Nigeria? NONE…. Also remember for every new asylum seeker in any country it costs the country a whole lot. Our people are sad people and are born liars.Never blame any embassy for refusing a Nigerian stay of visa.

  5. hey John,

    i find some of the statements you made hold water while there are some absolutely ridiculous statements made.
    First, lets work with your stats where have you found your stats from and what company made that research?
    you may well be correct, however the 14 that have their permanent residency, dont they now have jobs and are paying taxes, if they do then they will be paying back for the time spent as assylum seekers and burning the tax payer’s money.

    A lot of people cannot influence the corrupt government in nigeria to change its ways but they sure can leave the country and be better citizens of countries that would accept what they can offer.

    Your were once in the position of these people you demise and you have made yourself a better person for the opportunities given to you, for the life of me i cannot understand how you can stand tall and ask the people to leave canada alone.

    Being British, i understand what the government has gone through to give us the advantages we have. Not every government has done that, how much more the Nigerian government who first of all need to get their house in order.

    The bottomline is you are not better than your fellow nigerians so don’t dis them all. However there are a lot of bad ones who inturn influence the decisions the embassy make about those who legally wish to better their lives and be productive members of the society.

    disappointing buddy.

  6. Guys,

    This article appears poorly written.

    The refusal letter from the High Commission of Canada is not explicitly quoted and the official list of visa requirements to Canada in that category is also absent. This information is available at http://www.cic.gc.ca.

    Traveling for academic purposes does not guarantee a successful visa application.

  7. Sylvester, you are a disgrace to our generation. Don’t want to even know where you came from, but it’s obvious you don’t know the treacherous embrace and psychological torment you have meted on these innocent once who were about to slog it out in a sensitive competition. You also have to go to the certiport website, if you have never in your life attended bowl before and watched the winner and the participating student time – the wrmth and breathtaking moment they shared.

    Somebody should even have asked you: have there been issues of Nigerian participant of this loudable competition in the past that have travelled and did not come back?

    Your paragraph 3 says much about you because its our of content!

  8. I think canadian embassy shd be caution and call to order.wht nonsense are they doing.I have heard so many complaints abt the embassy.This is ridiculous.Whts so special at their country.How could they refer to employment situation to students who are in secondary school.This is disgusting.

  9. This is what happens when a government of a country lacks respect for his own people

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  12. A big Kudos to both Kevin and Ibukun. As for John and Sylvester, you both are absolute disgrace and disgust to this great nation Nigeria, cant imagined you can talk against your fellow Nigerians. You heard school children participating in a competition of this magnitude and, yet two disgusting guys (John and Sylvester) can not even contribute positively to what’s happening. first, you are being jealous cos’ you had never in your life been part of a great thing as this…….you sucka!

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