Report of David Oyedepo, General Overseer of Winners Chapel being allegedly denied the United States (US) visa had been pulled down by ThisDay newspaper after it was refuted by the church and the US embassy.
The newspaper on Friday claimed that the embassy had not given the clergyman any reason except the standard default explanation that he, (Oyedepo) did not qualify for visa renewal in its assessment, urging him to try again.
The media went on to say, the preacher had created a scene querying reasons for his refusal and when he attempted making phone calls, the US embassy had allegedly denied such move, noting that calls were not allowed within the precincts of the visa-issuing section of the embassy.
Screenshots on Twitter indicated that the report was first published on ThisDay’s website at about 5:30 am on January 31, 2020, and posted on its Twitter handle at 8:10 am the same date. Now, it has been pulled down.
While such a report had set the internet abuzz with mixed reactions and astonishments, the US embassy had issued a statement describing it as misinformation and false news.
“#FalseNews Alert! Be advised, the reports making the rounds about a visa being denied to Nigerian Bishop Oyedepo are false. If you have seen this manufactured item in the media, help defeat this #misinformation by communicating to everyone that it is completely false,” the embassy dismissed the claim.
In the same light, the Chairman, Editorial and Media Board of the church, Sheriff Folarin had refuted claims the preacher was denied an entry visa into the US, to talk less of creating a scene at the US embassy.
He said ‘Oyedepo still has a valid US visa on his passport and would not have applied for another one yesterday’, The Punch report
“We wish to put it on record and categorically submit that this piece of information is not true. At no time was the Bishop denied a visa, nor did he create a scene at the US consulate in Lagos, as purported by some mainstream and online newspapers.
“The Bishop renewed his visa, last year, without any initial denial or drama, or scene. The Bishop was not at the Embassy or Consulate yesterday or even anytime this year. Bishop has been in Canaanland all this week. The last time he applied for a visa, which was last year, he was issued without delay.
“We encourage the Nigerian media to always follow the line of due diligence before rushing to press and try to at least reach the church from time to time, whenever items try to pass through the rumour mill.
“Professionalism and wisdom require this so as to maintain integrity and make the media trusted in society, particularly in this age that fake news has become the news,” he said.