Thursday, March 9, 2017 1:50 am
The U.S. Embassy in Abuja said on Wednesday that there was no reason for Nigerians with valid visas to postpone or cancel their travel to the United States.
The Embassy said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
It explained that: “Nigeria is not named in the Executive Order on Immigration issued on March 6.
“And there is no prohibition against Nigerian lawful permanent residents or persons with a valid visa or other U.S. Government authorisation from entering the U.S”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had on Monday advised Nigerians to reconsider their travelling plan to the U.S.
Dabiri-Erewa said that Nigerians who have no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S. to postpone their travel plans until the new administration’s policy on immigration becomes clearer.
She said that her office had in the last few weeks received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry U.S. visas being denied entry and sent back home.
She said that no reasons were given for the decision by the U.S. immigration authorities.
However, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, Foreign Affairs Minister’s reaction on Tuesday while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja, corroborated the embassy’s claim.
Onyeama said that no Nigerian with full valid entry visa had been denied entry to the U.S., adding that Nigerians are free to travel to U.S. as the country was not on the ban list.
The minister said he was constantly in touch with the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, adding that there is no report on Nigerians being denied entry into the U.S.
“I can tell you to ignore any call or advice to reconsider travelling to the U.S. because there is no basis for that.
“We have absolutely no report whatsoever from the U.S. that people are being turned back from the U.S. or any of our consulate or any Nigerian that any of our people are being turned back,” he said.
The U.S. Mission to Nigeria had also earlier in February assured Nigerians that the executive order on immigration would not affect Nigerians, noting that visa applicants will continue to get two-year multiple entry visas as before.
The mission also clarified that the order would not affect the validity of visas held by Nigerians because its visa policy to Nigeria had not changed.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, and the U.S. Consular Chief, Meghan Moore, had explained to newsmen in Abuja on Feb. 3 that the U.S. visa policy was based on reciprocity.
They assured that Nigerians would not be discriminated against.
The U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 27, barring people from seven mainly Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the U.S. for 90 days.
It also stopped all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees permanently. (NAN)