Canada denies Nigerians entry visas
By Peter Nkanga
July 30, 2009 01:55PMT
The hours are counting down to the “Best in the World” a Microsoft Word and Excel world title championship holding in Toronto, Canada, beginning on July 30, 2009, and organised by Certiport.
But Nigeria's representatives, 16-year-old Adeolu Adeyemi and Oluwaseun Oyewole, students of Thomas Adewumi International College, Kwara State, can only stare at their visa denials from the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria.
When contacted on Monday, Nigeria's foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Ayo Olukanmi, said he was unaware that the country's representatives had been denied visa by the host country. But he quickly added, “what's the guarantee they'll come back?” He asked. “It has happened before that people go and don't come back.
There are so many cases like that, with too many people having fake passports and documents.” Mr. Olukanmi went on to say that only the ministry's consular service director, Steve Egurube, in Abuja, could deal with the matter.
House of Representatives committee chairman on foreign affairs, Umaru Bature, also said he needed more facts on the issue. “I am just hearing this from you for the first time,” he said. “I will need more information on this matter before I can comment or do anything.”
On Tuesday morning, scanned copies of 14 documents the children submitted to the Canadian High Commission were forwarded to Mr. Olukanmi and Mr. Bature's email boxes. The documents included Certiport's letter of invitation dated June 25, 2009, the Canadian visa officer's application refusal dated July 15, 2009, the Canadian High Commission's undated Deficiency Sheet refusing and closing their second visa application, and the Lufthansa return tickets worth over $7,000 (their flight was confirmed for July 27, 2009). Neither of the officials have responded yet.
Certiport's invitation letter, signed by the company's president and CEO, Ray Kelly, stated that the two Nigerian teenagers were to compete against “about 40 participants from 50 countries”.
The letter further read: “All travel arrangements, including round trip 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.” In a response email to NEXT, the Canadian High Commission immigration section declined to comment on why the visas had been denied. “We are sorry,” the email read, “we do not deal with third parties under the Privacy Act.”
According to the high commission's visa officer, the refusal of the visa applications submitted by the students on July 6, 2009 was based on the children's nationality “which, balanced against factors” might motivate them to stay in Canada.
“You have not satisfied me that you meet the requirements… that you would leave Canada at the end of the temporary period if you were authorised to stay,” the visa officer wrote on the application on July 15, 2009.
Copies of the documents are below:
Ayodele Oyewole parent consent letter
Canada Embassy 2nd visa refusal
Certiport Invitation letter to Canada High Commission for Oyewole
Confirmed Lufthansa return tickets
Seun Oyewole visa refusal
Reader Comments (12)
Posted by Chris Odediran on Jul 30 2009
If they just excelled in Microsoft Excel and Work, what's the big deal? Canada has demonstrated herself as a friend of developing nations over the years. Don't let's glorify mediocrity. The outside world doesn't care if you are an Excel or Word wizzkid. They are basic software – too simple to be issuing a visa for. At a time when a 9-year kid in the USA is writing applications for iPhone, we ought to be ashamed we are presenting these kids as gifted.
Posted by ola on Jul 30 2009
Who is this Ayo Olukanmi guy? He is a joker, a very inept official who should be relieved of his duties! How can an official of the foreign office utter such careless, unguarded statements? Rather than rise to the defense of these high school kids, he neglects his duties and runs his mouth to the press. He is an embarrassment to the foreign office. I am terribly ashamed of AYO OLUKANMIN!
Posted by Bolaji on Jul 30 2009
If Mr Olukanmi indeed made the statement that “What's the guarantee they'll come back?” He should be relieved of his post. He is, truthfully, an imbecile. If he can think like that, he is on the wrong side and not worthy of the assignment/office he is holding. Shame on him. Shame on the Foreign Affairs ministry if this Olukanmi dunce is not demoted and retrained.
Posted by Josiah Ogbonnaya Nwafor on Jul 30 2009
Stil terribly unfortunite! Whatz wrong wt people deciding to stay in a country,in which they have d right.sheer banditory,shameless effrontry n unabashed irresponsibility of our supposed representatives.GOD bls NAIJA
Posted by adams on Jul 30 2009
Nigerian govt will not see anything 2 do abt it.The dreams of the students have been dashed.All what our govt does is to share money n delve in irrelevant issues like lagos state creation of local govt.The Senators shld call for the removal of the minister for foreign Affairs
Posted by labalaba on Jul 31 2009
Nigeria's foreign affairs ministry spokesperson, Ayo Olukanmi,can never reply. He sounded inept and incompetent as his boss, whose current obsession is to get Obama to visit Nigeria and taste of the poised chalice. Hear his stupid utterance:”what's the guarantee they'll come back?” The typical civil servant mentality. These children achieved this feat here, what makes you think they will forsake their “gbegiri” for them burgers? Unfortunate that brainless people are in charge in this country blessed with abundant talents. Children, do not be weary every disappointment is a blessing. If you are already excelling in EXCEL, wetin remain! Hearty Congratulations ja re!You idle civil servants, your days are numbered.
Posted by Osigwe Nnamdi on Jul 31 2009
To Mr Odediran, u feel that d fact that Microsoft Excel & Word is too basic that d students do not deserve d right to compete in an international event in which they passed? Mind u, they are d ones out of so many that came out tops to represent d country. Your utterances is just a clear example of what a true Nigerian should not say. I bet when u were their age, u never saw a computer not to talk of using one! The kids merit d competition n should b given every necessary support to excel.I pray God to b wit them. As 4 d Foreign affairs officer, i doubt if he even has a school qualification not to talk of being a Civil servant! He is a fraud n should b removed from office with immediate effect. This is how they go about damaging d image of d country with their untutored utterances.
Posted by IKHIDE on Jul 31 2009
THE JUDGEMENT OF THE VISA OFFICER IS BASELESS AND UNJUSTIFY, NIGERIA IS A GREAT COUNTRY.AYO OLUKANMI OR WHAT HIS NAME IS IS NOT WORTHY AN AMBASSADOR HE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF
Posted by Olufemi on Jul 31 2009
This Olukanmi character is emblematic of the cretins that populate our civil/diplomatic service. You adjudge people guilty without recourse to the merit of their cause? Your own children must so dimwitted you cannot now comprehend brilliance in other children. @Chris Odediran. These are children for heavens sake.Do not for any reason despise little beginings. !