Thousands of Nigerians will miss their visa appointments as the United States embassy in Abuja and its consulate in Lagos have shut down indefinitely.
This implies that persons who have applied for tourist, study, business visas, immigrant visas or any other travel document will have to cancel their plans.
The US embassy in Nigeria said in a Facebook post that the development was caused by the government shutdown in the US.
The statement read, “Due to the current US government shutdown, the American centres located in the embassy, Abuja and Consulate-General, Lagos are unfortunately closed. They will re-open once the US government shutdown is resolved. Sorry for any inconvenience to our valued patrons.”
The embassy charges N57, 600 in visa fees which is non-refundable. However, it was not clear whether any concessions would be made to applicants since the development was no fault of theirs.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Supertech Educonsult, Mr Oluyemi Ayeni, whose firm trains students on how to secure visas, the US embassy in Abuja and Lagos interview nearly a thousand applicants daily in 10 different sessions.
The US executive arm of government led by President Donald Trump and the legislative arm have been at loggerheads for nearly two months over Trump’s attempt to build a wall along the Mexican border.
Building a wall was one of Trump’s major campaign promises as part of efforts to curb illegal migration and crime.
He had boasted during his campaign that the Mexican government would pay for the wall.
However, with the refusal of the Mexican government to fund the wall, the President approached the US legislature, asking the bi-cameral institution to provide $5bn which would be used in funding the wall.
The Democrat members in Congress, however, rejected Trump’s proposal.
On December 11, Trump held a televised meeting with Speaker-designee, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, in which he asked them to support $5bn in funding for the border wall.
The Democrat leaders in Congress refused and Trump said, “I am proud to shut down the government for border security … I will be the one to shut the government down. I’m not going to blame you for it … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”
The shutdown officially began on December 22, 2018 and is expected to last for a few weeks.
While many federal workers are left without pay, some who are providing essential services will not be affected for now.