April 26, 2012 by John Alechenu
The United States Embassy in Abuja has appealed to members of the Nigerian public to assist it unmask a syndicate which specializes in selling appointment for visa interviews.
A Vice Consul in the Embassy, Nadine Johnson, said the Embassy was “very concerned” about the possibility of the existence of such a syndicate and was doing everything possible to deal with the situation.
She said this while responding to questions from journalists at the monthly press briefing at the US Embassy, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Johnson said, “We do not charge any fee apart from the $160 dollars fees.
“We understand that because it is some type of on- line system, people may try to buy up the appointments but we don’t encourage people to do that.
“It is not our system at all, they (people) should never pay extra for it the system is free apart from the $160 fees.
“Now that this has been brought to our attention, we are working to ensure that an appointment made is for the passport number that is given, we are trying to get that clarified.”
Information Officer of the Embassy, Deborah Ann Maclean, corroborated these assertions.
According to her, a new system has been put in place to substantially reduce if not eliminate such an occurrence.
She said, prior to the new system there was no requirement matching an appointment request with personal details like passport number of the applicant.
This, she pointed out, was “how the touts were much more easily able to buy up appointment for their personal gain.
“One, we don’t do it, two, we want it stopped just as much as everybody else does, three, we are trying to stop it, four, we encourage people if they hear of these to let us know.
“And if they know of any information of organizations, business or individuals offering to buy these appointments and then selling them, let us know because that helps everyone.”