Nigeria: Buhari Sets Up Panel to Study, Address U.S. Visa Ban

(file photo).
1 February 2020

President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a committee to study and address the expanded United States Visa ban list on which Nigeria and five other countries were added on Friday.

US President Donald Trump had on Friday added six countries to the nations facing stringent travel restrictions, virtually blocking immigration from Africa's most populous nation, Nigeria. Other five nations added to the expanded visa ban list included Myanmar, where refugees are fleeing genocide; Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania and Kyrgyzstan.

A statement issued by the State House on Saturday said the committee set up by the President will be chaired by the Minister of Interior, Raufu Aregbesola.

According to the statement, the committee will work with the US Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented.

The statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media, Mr Femi Adesina, noted that "Nigeria remains committed to maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security."

Below is the four-paragraph statement by the State House.

UNITED STATES SUSPENSION OF THE ISSUANCE OF IMMIGRANT VISAS TO NIGERIANS

On 31st January 2020, the United States (U.S) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary travel restrictions on six (6) countries including Nigeria.

For Nigeria, the restriction is the suspension of the issuance of "immigrant visas" to Nigerian passport holders only. This suspension shall come into effect on 21st February 2020. The suspension does not apply to other U.S visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.

The DHS states the suspension of "immigrant visas" became necessary following a review and update of the methodology (performance metrics) adopted by the U.S Government to assess compliance of certain security criteria by foreign governments. This resulted in certain enhancements on how information is shared between Nigeria and the U.S.

Nigeria remains committed to maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security. Accordingly, Mr President has established a committee, to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements. The committee will work with the U.S Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented.

FEMI ADESINA

SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT ON MEDIA AND PUBLICITY

1st February 2020

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