JIFORM Protests US Visa Refusal, As Migration Stakeholders Speak At Continental Summit

By Abiola PETERS.

The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM), has
protested the visa denial by the American embassy in Nigeria stopping many members of the forum from attending the summit.

JIFORM President, Dr Ajibola Abayomi registered the petition on Tuesday at the opening of the two days JIFORM Intercontinental Migration Summit held at Medgar Evers College (MEC), City University, New York City City (CUNY).

Dr Ajibola who described the action of the embassy as “unfair parameters” argued that it was a set back the JIFORM was forced to cope with.

Lamenting the visa refusal, he said “It is a pity; I would have been physically present to show my appreciation if not for the unfair parameters of the American embassy in Nigeria that denied my humble self and other 12 distinguished members of the JIFORM visas to travel to New York.

“If we must not discuss in fear and must fear to discuss, I think the decision was unfair and a great set back at this point for us. We have been forced to accept that in good faith. We have provided all needed information and facts, yet the consular at the embassy acted to the contrary. This will however not deter us from forging ahead.”

He said time had come for issues relating for migration to be taken seriously because of the positive implications for the economy.

“Migration has prospects. It is a serious issue. It is clear to all the nations of the world whether developing, developed and third world countries that there are benefits from it. The 2020 report of the IOM estimated that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population.

“In 2019, alone a total of USD 714 billion in international remittances were transferred globally by migrants and Diasporans back to origin countries as reported by the World Bank. To further underscore the import role of migration in the economy, officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were expected to increase by 4.2 percent in 2021 to reach $630 billion.

“Available data reflect an overall increase in remittances in recent decades, from $126 billion in 2000 to $702 billion in 2020. Despite predictions of a large decline in international remittances due to COVID-19, 2020 saw only a slight drop (2.4%) from the 2019 global total. It is therefore incumbent for the media to be fair to the migrants by reporting issues around them with accuracy and human face devoid of hate speech or stigmatization.”

Speakers who also advocated better attention for migration governance at the summit included the former minister of Immigration and Citizenship in Canada, Gerry Weiner; Minister of Labour and Social Security, Sierra Leone, Dr Alpha Osman Timbo; Dr Princess Kabuki Ocansey, a member of the African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee.

Timbo, Ocansey and Weiner also expressed displeasure over the visa refusal by the American embassy against the JIFORM members.

“I want to thank JIFORM for this honor and to specifically applaud Dr. Abayomi and to commend him for his tireless efforts in pushing the Migration agenda forward, especially in the midst of the covid crises- lockdown or no lockdown – he has been out there from Canada to the USA to Africa, a voice in the wilderness – crying out to save many lives! It breaks my heart, that his US visa was denied. We appeal to the US Government to support this noble effort going forward” Ocansey said.

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