Nigeria: Reactions Trail Biden's Reversal of Travel Ban On Nigerians, Others

22 January 2021

Nigerian experts in international relations have expressed mixed reactions following the issuance of executive order by new United States (US) president, Joe Biden, reversing the ban placed on Nigerian citizens and those of other Muslim majority countries.

Just hours after he was sworn-in, Biden signed about 17 executive orders, one of which was lifting the ban slammed by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

According to The New York Times, Biden has directed the state department to restart visa processing for individuals from the affected countries and to find other ways to address the harm caused to those who were prevented from coming to the US because of the ban.

The Muslim ban placed by Trump initially restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It later included Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania and North Korea.

Reacting to the reversal of the ban, Nigeria's former vice president Atiku Abubakar, lauded the decision, adding that it shows Biden was prepared to match his campaign words with action.

Atiku's spokesman, Paul Ibe, told LEADERSHIP on Thursday that, "Atiku was happy about the decision and he hopes that will also open opportunities for Biden to also intervene in the area of security to help Nigeria to fight the insurgency in the North east."

However, international affairs analyst, Majeed Dahiru, said it could be a hasty decision because of the growing threat of radical Islamists and their dangerous ideology around the world, stressing that Trump was very realistic in implementing the ban.

"For me as a Muslim, Trump's ban on Muslim countries was like a shock therapy to propel the Muslim world to begin to look inwards for some contentious issues that have led to the rise of radical Islam as well as the ongoing jihad movement not only in the Muslim world but around the entire world," Dahiru said.

Also reacting, a senior lecturer with the department of International Relations in the Baze University, Abuja, Dr Mukthar Imam said: "Why are our citizens having mass exodus of especially our professionals' such as doctors, engineers and others, from our country? Why are our people dying in the deserts of Libya because they want to get to Europe? These are the questions our leaders must answer so that our people can translate our human resources into useful wealth for our country. We should not be celebrating the lifting of the travel ban because the exodus of our people to other countries may not translate into any value for the Nigerian GDP."

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