NIGERIA’S information minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed has described plans by the US government to add the country to a list of nations that will be placed on a visa ban list as ill-conceived and one that will attract a reaction
Last week, it was rumoured that Washington was planning to add Nigeria to the list of countries whose citizens are banned from applying for US visas. Speaking in London during an interview session with Reuters, Alhaji Mohammed said that although the report was speculative, if it turns out to be true, the Nigerian government will respond comprehensively.
Alhaji Mohammed added: “On the issue of the travel ban our position is that it is still speculative because we are yet to be communicated. When we are communicated with we will respond comprehensively but in our view it was not well thought out but based largely on negative narratives spread by naysayers.
“I know that we are working very well with our neighbours to ensure that terrorism is addressed as we are working with the international community including the European Union and the US. Our advice to the US is that it should have a rethink on the issue because any travel ban is bound to affect investment and growth in the country and those who will be affected are the most vulnerable people in Nigeria.”
Last week, there were reports that the Donald Trump administration planned to add Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to the list of countries on the US visa travel ban. This is because of the number of terrorists that these countries produce, which in the case of Nigeria includes the likes of Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and Islamic State of West Africa.
Speaking on the border closure, the minister told Reuters that Nigeria took the hard decision because the neighbours, notably Benin Republic and Niger Republic, failed to respect the Ecowas treaty on the transit of goods. He added that the border closure had been positive and successful in terms of revenue, securing the nation and boosting the capacity of the farmers.
Alhaji Mohammed said: “Not only that they are sabotaging the economy of the country but also the security of the nation was being threatened. Under the guise of smuggling rice, a lot of small arms and light weapons are being smuggled into the country.”