Akure The Ondo State Government in South West Nigeria has expressed dismay over the blanket denial of entry Visa into Madrid for its officials by the Consular General of the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria.
The government in a press statement issued on Thursday in Akure, the state capital, by the Information Commissioner, Mr. Ranti Akerele, regretted the development, describing it as a rude shock.
The statement said State Government officials, including the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Chief Festus Adetola Wewe, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olabisi Kolawole Edwards, the Chairman of Idanre Local Government Area of the State, Mr. Sunday Taiwo Ayodele were to travel to Madrid, Spain with Master Akinwunmi Sunday Edward, an 11-year old winner of the 2009 MARE International Mountain Climbing Expedition organised by the State Government. The boy had beat other professional mountain climbers from around the world to clinch the star prize of the tournament last year.
To facilitate the Visas for the boy and the officials to accompany him, the State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko was said to have directed the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Aderotimi Adelola to write the Consular General of the Spanish Embassy in Lagos to intimate him about the trip, being part of the government pledges to the young lad that he would be sponsored to a country where mountain climbing is popular.
The statement said the officials, besides accompanying the boy, were to meet some professional mountain climbers who would participate in this year’s expedition in Spain.
The team was said to have submitted their traveling papers at the Spanish embassy on November 10, and paid the required fees. But they learnt that their requests had been denied when they returned to the embassy on Tuesday, November 23.
Mr. Akerele said the refusal of Visas was a setback for this year’s mountain climbing expedition despite the media blight already given to the intended trip of the young lad to Spain.
“In our opinion, this is a mundane, lame, absurd and laughable excuse adduced by the Spanish embassy that officials being sponsored by the State Government would either bolt away or have no means of sponsoring their trip,â€ he said.
“Again, it is an affront to aver that these officials who have subsisting and valid Visas to other advanced nations and who have equally travelled to several countries and have returned home would now abscond in Madrid.
â€œThis, is no doubt, unacceptable and definitely not a nice way to carry out bilateral relation between two sovereign nations and we take serious exceptions to this.”
Threating to report the matter to the Presidency and the Spanish Government, the government spokesman noted that the development underscored the ignominy with which foreign embassies in Nigeria treat nationals simply because they wanted to travel abroad, saying that â€œif this could be done to people of substance, then it would be unimaginable to rue the plight of innocent Nigerians in the hands of some embassies
“We are hoping the Consular General of Spain in Nigeria would make amends to this error of judgment as we want to believe that he was not aware of this slight of sort on the integrity of Ondo State and by extension, our great nation, Nigeria in the interest of our two nations and in conformity with our fundamental human rights as expressly stated and sanctions by several statutes internationally.”
Story by Mos Abaka (email – firstname.lastname@example.org)