A former Vice President of Nigeria, Abubakar Atiku has called on the government of the United States of America to lift its travel ban on Nigerians.
The Donald Trump administration had placed a travel ban on Nigerians last Friday, citing the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism as the reason for its action.
The restrictions are used to encourage countries to comply with US national security requirements, such as sharing information with US agencies, noted an official of the administration.
The administration has said its policy restricting travel is necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travelers to the U.S.
However, Atiku, in a statement he personally signed on Saturday, asked 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.
“The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies,” he contended.
The Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate at the 2019 election said the ban does not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States.
“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 between 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 multilateral 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% 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 statement read in part.
The Nigerian government had said it would wait to see the scope, reach, implications and consequences of the US President Donald Trump administration’s plan to add Nigeria to countries subjected to travel restrictions.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, while reacting to a story by The Wall Street Journal about the ban, said the Federal Government would not respond to speculations.
“Yes, we have read the news that the Trump administration is planning to add a host of African, Asian and Eastern European countries to its travel restrictions list as reported by the U.S. media.
“We are not going to react to speculations. We urge you to wait for us to see what unfolds under the new policy, its scope, its reach, the implications and its consequences before we react,” Shehu said.
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