Nigeria wants US visa restriction lifted


Nigeria asked the US to abandon new visa restrictions on the West African country set to take effect on Friday.

President Donald Trump included Nigeria and five other countries in an expanded version of his travel ban list this month, sparking outrage.

US officials said the six countries failed to meet security and information-sharing standards, necessitating new restrictions.

Nigeria interior minister, Ogbeni Aregbesola, made the request to drop the ban to the US ambassador in Abuja, the ministry said in a statement.

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such sanction,” Aregbesola said, according to the statement.

“We are positive the visa restriction is a temporary one, it will soon be behind us,” he said, adding Nigeria complied with most concerns raised by the US.

The statement did not say how Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard responded to the request, but she assured Aregbesola of “her country’s determination to continue to collaborate with Nigeria”.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the biggest country on the list whose citizens will be suspended from US visas that can lead to permanent residency.

The original travel ban, issued in 2017, barred nearly all immigrants and travellers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations.

The policy was revised amid court challenges and upheld in 2018 by the U.S. Supreme Court.