- Beams searchlight on THISDAY employees
The United States embassy in Nigeria has turned down the visa applications of the embattled National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr Christopher Isiguzo, on reasons ranging from certificate forgery and other criminal offences.
Reliable sources within the embassy disclosed this to two top media executives in the country on Wednesday, saying that Isiguzo’s applications had been turned down twice in three weeks on the conviction that he had forged multiple documents.
Isiguzo is an employee of Thisday Newspaper and is currently facing trial at the National Industrial Court, Abuja for multiple certificate forgery, fraud, among other crimes.
According to the sources, his forgery streak include academic certificates of notable Nigerian and American institutions, which he uses to gain job opportunities and NUJ positions.
“The embassy will not grant visa to any one who is said to have forged a certificate of a degree or diploma awarding institution in the United States of America. Never! More so, we will not grant visa to an individual who has a pending case in court for a crime as weighty as forgery,” the sources said.
They said the embassy would not ordinarily make denial of visa applications of individuals public, but it chose to do so because of Isiguzo’s behaviour at the embassy after he was denied visa the second time.
“He was ranting and making noise here, asking if we knew who he was; that he is the national president of NUJ and will mobilise journalists against the embassy. He started calling people on phone, people we presume might be his colleagues, to come over to the embassy to cause chaos,” one of the sources stated.
She said, “He mentioned names of some state governors he would call and the the embassy will be shut down, and all that. What powers do state governors have to shut down an embassy. Was he really thinking?
“He said a lot of other things we couldn’t comprehend in his strong accent. He showed desperation to flee Nigeria because no right thinking individual would re-apply for a visa just two weeks after s/he has been denied the first application.
“From our investigations, we also found out that he has no travel history, aside a very recent trip to China. Could that be the reason he is not knowledgeable about issues concerning visa applications? Even at that, we expected a better behaviour from a man who is clearly in his mid-50s and claims to superintend over the entire Nigerian journalists.”
The source added, “If Thisday could permit a journalist with forged certificates to work for the reputable newspaper, then we will henceforth beam our searchlight on the company’s employees in future visa applications.”
Meanwhile, Isiguzo recently filed a forged letter of appointment from Winner Newspaper during hearing on his matter at the National Industrial Court.
He claimed to have worked at Winner Newspaper prior to joining Thisday, but the management of Winner Newspaper has denied ever issuing such letter to him. The case was adjourned to a later date.
A veteran media practitioner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “As a journalist, I was embarrassed but what else do you expect when intruders and misfits get to such positions. I weep for journalists in Nigeria.
“This is what we get from Thisday. And I heard his certificates are being questioned, yet Thisday employed him.”