The United States (US) has started re-evaluating the immigration visa ban President Donald Trump placed on Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mustapha Sulaiman, who revealed this, said the development followed Nigeria’s accomplishment of almost 90 per cent of the requirements by the US government which led to the visa ban.
He spoke to newsmen after an inaugural meeting of the US/Nigeria Forum on Wednesday in Abuja.
At the meeting attended by US ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede; and other senior officials, the two countries deliberated on the level of compliance in information sharing and other concerns.
President Trump, on January 31, 2020 placed immigration visa ban on seven countries including Nigeria over their failures to meet the US security and information sharing standards.
But after the Wednesday’s meeting, Sulaiman told newsmen:
“We have accomplished so much within a very difficult year, but essentially, we want to acknowledge and put on record Nigeria’s response to the concerns by the United States government in respect of the immigrant visa restriction that was imposed on Nigerians.
“From the assessment of the recipient of our response, I think we have accomplished almost 90 per cent of the requirements that has been established in that regard.
“And I am sure that if you follow the information that has been passed on the level of compliance; for instance, sharing of information, we have done so much in that regard and that is why the US is re-evaluating us.”
Speaking further, Sulaiman said that the consular forum would be maintained as a platform where Nigeria and the US would progressively improve on bilateral relations and address concerns for the benefit of citizens.
He said, “We have just had the maiden consular forum meeting today (Wednesday), and I want to put it on record that it has been a very successful meeting with various issues that were discussed.”
Leonard speaking said that President Trump’s Proclamation enjoined the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to prepare a report addressing the measures that have been taken which would be then submitted to the White House for re-evaluation.
“I have to congratulate Nigeria on its progress on greater information sharing with the United States, which is the crux of a lot of issues dealt with in these presidential proclamations.
“We have reviewed the Federal Government’s report on information sharing and we are inspired by the strides that Nigeria has made to improve access to stolen and lost travel documents.
“I’m particularly encouraged by the September 7 announcement that the US-provided INTERPOL router is successfully connected to Nigeria’s Immigration Service and National Bureau in Abuja.
“Washington is extremely pleased about that development in particular,” she said.
When she was asked to comment on US recent imposition of visa restriction on Nigerian politicians who undermined the electoral process, she said the US was serious about the matter and would subject anyone found guilty to the sanctions.
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