US gives conditions to lift Visa ban on Nigeria

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MARY-BETH Leonard
MARY-BETH Leonard

MARY-BETH Leonard, US ambassador to Nigeria, has assured Nigerians that Donald Trump led administration will review its visa ban once Nigeria improves her data intelligence. She said the country’s intelligence data should be easy to enable US to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit her country.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, Leonard said the condition should be met for Nigeria to enjoy immigrant visas to US again.

“I think I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone currently in the United States.

“What Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of States, said was something that was meant to be temporary and it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable. We look forward to Nigeria in a very short while being able to meet those information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed. Also, students’ visas are not affected by the current visa ban,” she said.

On diversification policy, Leonard said there was need for skill set of Nigerians to be effectively harnessed and internationalised, such that they would not be seen as illegal immigrants when they go abroad to work. “I think for Nigeria, you have interesting story about diversification of your economy and prosperity of your economy and its people. You know Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their industriousness.”

The ambassador, however, called on the Nigerian government to capture the entrepreneurial spirit in the informal sector by bringing on board into the formal sector service to enhance employment in the country.

On his part, Ngige noted that Nigeria has over 70 percent of professionals who migrated to the US for the betterment of their skills. “This includes the medical doctors, engineers, ICT, among others, who are resident in the US and when the US government gave the ban it came to us as a rude shock that their legal status would be cancelled. I will want to say that Nigerian professionals over there are highly qualified to have their visa status residence over there,” he said.

The minister called on the US government to assist Nigeria to build schools in the areas where child labour is endemic in the country.

The US government recently blocked citizens of certain countries from obtaining some types of visa. The other countries affected include Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.

– Feb. 19, 2020 @ 16:05 GMT |

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