Visa ban: Minister kicks as US ambassador promises review


The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said the inclusion of Nigeria in the list of countries under the US travel ban was a shock to the country.

He described the ban as unwarranted because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the US economy.

The minister spoke during the visit of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, to his office, just as the ambassador said the ban was temporary.

Leonard had said the visa ban could be resolved between the two countries if certain conditions were met by the Nigerian government.

According to her, Nigeria needed to meet information-sharing goals before the decision would be reversed by the US.

She said the ban was based on US concerns over the need for information sharing and not about character definition, adding that student’s visa was not included.

She said, “I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently is in the United States.

“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable, and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information-sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed.”

The minister had said, “Some of these Nigerians are medical doctors, engineers and people with a high level of proficiency in oil and gas fields. They were all part of the Nigerian residents in the US and it came to us as a rude shock when the US government banned Nigerians and put us in the list of those countries whose residency status have been cancelled.”

While urging the US ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and had it reversed, the minister told the US ambassador that more than 70 per cent of Nigerians living in the US were highly-skilled professionals, who contributed billions of dollars yearly to US economy while sending equally impressive amount to Nigeria.

The minister also used the opportunity to seek collaboration and assistance of the US in the area of poverty eradication and child labour.

He said Nigeria would not demand money from the US but other forms of assistance.

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