Three reasons why US travel ban may not last for Nigeria

The recent policy of President Donald Trump-led US government to restrict Nigeria, alongside five other countries from acquiring immigrants’ visas into the United States, has been greeted by rude shock and reactions in the last 48 hours.

As expected, political bigwigs have joined the train to widely express dissatisfaction and find the inclusion of the largest West African country ‘a big slap’.

Interestingly, some misconceptions about the new policy have also surfaced.

Sudanese and Tanzanian nationals will also not be able to apply for “diversity visas”, which are available by lottery for applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the US.

The reason given was due to the countries’ failure to comply with its established identity-management and information-sharing criteria. The restriction became imminent for the security of the Americans.

So, non-immigrant visas given to people for temporary stays – including visitors, those doing business or people seeking medical treatment – would not be impacted by the new rules.

  • US lawmakers’ stand:

On the other hand, the US Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has frowned at Trump’s travel ban.

The Speaker stated the house will soon -in the coming weeks – establish an act to limit the president’s “ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions”, as she condemned all forms of anti-immigrants agenda which do not conform with US convention.

It can be noted that President Trump is still undergoing impeachment trials before the Senate on the two charges brought by the House of Representatives which led to his impeachment (different from removal from office) in December last year.

  • Nigeria’s position:
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In 2018, the US issued more than 8,000 immigration visas to citizens of Nigeria – twice as many as all the other five nations combined.

In a quick reaction to the new policy, Femi Adesina, the spokesman to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday afternoon announced the establishment  of a committee to be headed by Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola to “study and address” the new visa requirements.

In the statement, President Buhari said he wants Nigeria to have “productive relations” with the US.

Notably, Nigeria is a counter-terrorism partner for the US.

Also, the travel ban will not take effect from February 21. If the government’s committee is fast-tracked, Nigeria may even exit the list a short while before it kicks off or just scarcely a few days into it.

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