Nigeria may have created confusion over two conflicting travel advisories cautioning against travel to the U.S.
Ms Abike Dabiri-Erewa Nigeria’s Presidential Adviser on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora had on Monday issued a travel warning, cautioning Nigerians who did not have urgent business in the U.S., to re-schedule such trips.
According to her they should reschedule until there was clarity that country’s policy on movement in and out of the U.S.
She also claimed that some Nigerians with genuine documents to travel to the U.S., were turned back.
But the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, who spoke with reporters in Abuja, coiuntered, saying “no Nigerian with valid entry visa has been denied entry to the U.S.’’.
Mr Onyeama, while saying that Nigerians were free to travel to U.S., as the country was not on the travel ban list, explained that he was constantly in touch with the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., and the American envoy in Nigeria.
He added that there was no report on Nigerians being denied entry into the U.S.
According to the minister, on the issue of Nigerians being turned back, this is not the case. “There is nothing of such nature. I can tell you to ignore any call or advice to reconsider travelling to the U.S., because there is no basis for that.
“We have absolutely no report whatsoever from the U.S., that people are being denied entry or any of our consulate or any Nigerian that any of our people are being turned back,” he said.
“If the Nigerian government is speaking on any foreign relations, it will be heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Presidency.’’
Mr Onyeama added that Nigeria has embassies in almost 114 countries across the world and the ministry relied on their reports.
“The U.S. president Donald Trump took all the trouble to call our president and to offer the hand of cooperation to see how he was doing.
“And, to congratulate him on the efforts he has been making and expressing the respect that he has for him, his leadership and his government.
“Nigeria is on no list and Nigerians are on no list ban by the U.S., government and it is always business as usual and very good business with the U.S., government.’’
The American Government temporarily barred migrants and refugees from some major Muslim countries, including three African countries — Libya, Somalia and Sudan.
Meanwhile, a group, Nigerian Coalition for Quality Governance, has criticised the Foreign Affairs Minister for his handling of the U.S., travel controversy.
A statement on Tuesday by the group said the minister was only trying to deny and dismiss the effects of the Executive Order of the U.S. President Donald Trump banning nationals of select countries.
“While it must be admitted that Nigeria is not officially among the countries whose citizens have been banned from entering the U.S., enough evidence has already surfaced that not a few Nigerians had been put on the next available planes from the U.S., airports back to Nigeria.
“This in spite of their being in possession of all travelling documents including requisite entry visas,” the group said.
The group said the minister was wrong in calling on Nigerians to ignore the travel advisory issued by Mrs Dabiri-Erewa.
It notes: “while we are not questioning the right of the Foreign Minister to an issue that borders on foreign policy as this, Mr Onyeama has undoubtedly put the wrong foot forward’’.
“There are verifiable evidence that Nigerians are being unfairly targeted and included in the dragnet of the U.S., immigration authorities.” ##