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DAILY INDEPENDENT (Jul 4, 2003)

GREEK AMBASSADOR BAGS AWARD
By Folorunso Ogunekun

The Greek Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Constantine O. Giovas, has bagged the 2002/2003 Greece-International Human Rights Award.

A statement by a non-government organisation (NGO), Global Peace Movement (GPM)'s President General, Director of International Affairs and Co-ordinator, Mr. Mike Uyi, Dr. George Evbuoma and Mr. Sam Enudi explained that Giovas was selected for his contributions to human rights in Nigeria.

GPM further stated that the essence of the award was to throw a challenge to other countries to continuously maintain their stand on the observation of human rights. Uyi told Daily Independent that one of the reasons why Giovas won the prestigious award was his visa policy in Nigeria, adding that the embassy under his leadership always refunded visa applicant's fee whenever applications were turned down.

He added that the embassy will also refrain from stamping applicants' passports whenever they are not given visas. Uyi urged other embassies in Nigeria to emulate the Greek embassy. "By stamping the passport of a rejected visa applicant, a stigma is placed on him which absolutely debars such persons from securing visa from other countries. He added that it is a sign of wickedness for an embassy to reject a visa applicant, stamp his passport and refuse to refund his visa fees. The award, Daily Independent learnt, will be conferred on Giovas at a ceremony in September.

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