Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama has dismissed the travel advisory issued by Mrs Dabiri-Erewa warning Nigerians against traveling to the US because a Nigerian with full valid entry visa has been denied entry to the U.S.
While fielding questions from newsmen over the issue yesterday, Onyeama said if government was speaking on any external relations, it would be heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Presidency as any other source is not from the government.
He also added that Nigerians were free to travel to U.S. as the country was not on the list of six banned mainly-Muslim countries.
The banned countries are Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. Iraq was removed from the list in the revised Executive Order issued by President Donald Trump.
“On the issue of Nigerians being turned back from the U.S., this is not the case.
“I am in touch with the U. S. Embassy and the Ambassador said no, there was nothing of such nature.
“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.
According to him,
“The U.S. Government has been reaching out to Nigeria. The U.S. president took all the trouble to call our president and to offer the hand of cooperation to see how he was doing.
And, to congratulate him on the efforts he is being making and expressing the respect that he had for him, his leadership and his government.
“Nigeria is on no list and Nigerians are on no list ban by the U.S. Government and it is always business as usual and very good business with the U.S. Government.
“Anything you hear in respect of the U.S. is incorrect, so any one that has valid document to go to the U.S. or any other country should please proceed to do so,” he said.
However, a pressure group, the Nigerian Coalition for Quality Governance, said the minister was misleading the Federal Government with his denial.
The group’s national coordinator, Gbenga Omoniya, said it was wrong for Onyeama to dismiss Dabiri’s travel advice.
Omoniya said the Federal Government could not afford to close its eyes to maltreatment meted out to genuine Nigerian travellers in the U.S. despite exclusion of Nigeria from the travel ban.
Rather than engaging in denial, Omoniya advised the minister to wake up to his responsibility by creating functional communication mechanism to track cases of victims affected by the U.S. immigration measures.
“We advise Mr. Onyeama to confirm cases of Nigerians affected, but which have not been reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affair rather than engage in spurious denials that have no basis in facts, we enjoin that the minister to collaborate with the relevant agencies of the government in making sure that Nigerians are treated with dignity and respect wherever they may be.
Trump is putting America first. Onyeama should put Nigerians first, too.”