Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama speaks to the press with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(R), on the Department of State on February 4, 2020 in Washington,DC. AFP
The United States and Nigeria voiced hope Tuesday that the Trump administration would quickly raise onerous visa restrictions slapped on Africa’s most populous nation, which stated it was “blindsided” by its ally.
On a beforehand scheduled go to to Washington, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama stated he sought extra data on President Donald Trump’s newest immigration crackdown introduced final week which focused Nigeria and 5 different international locations.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assembly Onyeama, stated that Trump took motion partly because of the “terrorist threat” in West Africa, the place Nigeria has fought alongside the United States in opposition to Islamist extremists.
Nigeria stays a “strategic partner” however Trump restricted visas because it has “room to grow in sharing important national security information.”
“I’m optimistic that’s going to happen,” Pompeo instructed reporters.
Striking a diplomatic tone, Onyeama stated his talks had been “very gratifying” however acknowledged, with a smile, that Trump’s transfer caught Nigeria off-guard.
“We were somewhat blindsided by the announcement of the visa restrictions,” Onyeama stated.
He stated that Nigeria had already been seeking to tackle US issues, comparable to offering data on suspected terrorists and embedding digital knowledge into passports.
“We know, and the US officials have also confirmed, that we have been able to tick most of those boxes,” he stated.
The lingering downside, he stated, concerned methods to deal with misplaced and stolen Nigerian passports.
He stated Nigeria was putting in a system that may make knowledge from such passports “immediately available” to all members of Interpol, the worldwide legislation enforcement physique.
“We hope to have that up and running very soon,” he stated. “Hopefully, once that has been achieved, we look forward to being taken off this visa restriction list.”
Trump got here to workplace vowing to impose border restrictions and notoriously was quoted as utilizing a vulgar epithet for African and different creating nations that ship immigrants to the United States.
Unlike a controversial order days after he took workplace that primarily banned entry to residents from a variety of Muslim-majority international locations, the newest restrictions primarily contain foreigners who search to immigrate quite than go to.
Along with Nigeria, Trump imposed the curbs on nationals from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania.