President Muhammadu Buhari has taken steps to help reverse Nigeria’s recent inclusion on the travel ban list of the United States.
Nigeria was named among five other countries – Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Burma – whose citizens may be denied immigrant visas into the U.S. from February 22, 2020.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the six countries were added to the list for failing to corporate with the American government in the area of information-sharing on terrorism, among others.
In response, President Buhari ordered the constituted of a committee to study the reason why the U.S. included Nigeria on the list and make necessary amends for a possible reversal.
The president’s media aide, Femi Adesina, said on Saturday that the committee will work with the U.S Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to that effect.
Meanwhile, former vice president and 2019 presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has urged President Trump to reconsider Nigeria’s inclusion on the travel ban list.
Atiku said instead punishing Nigerian citizens, the American government should rather impose sanctions on officials of the Buhari administration who allegedly failed to furnish it with information required to fight terrorism.
He said, “I urge the government of President Donald Trump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships. Nigeria was one of the few African nations that joined the US led coalition during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, when the United States championed the liberation of Kuwait.
“The Trump administration may also consider the pivotal role Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia, an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation.
“Nigeria has also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies. This is even as we are perhaps the biggest trading partner that the United States has in Africa, even where we had alternatives.
“Nigerians love the United States and have been a major force for the positive development of that great nation: 77 per cent of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerians. Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America Bar None.
“Surely, the US stands to benefit if it allows open borders with a country like Nigeria that is able to provide skilled, hardworking and dedicated personnel in a two-way traffic.
“The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies.
“Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population.”
Atiku unsuccessfully contested Nigeria’s presidency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election but lost to the incumbent President Buhari.