United States has said that it notified all foreign governments including Nigeria about the identity-management and information-sharing criteria in 2019.
The government stated that the Republic of Chad improved on the performance metrics and was removed from consideration for travel restrictions.
This was contained in the full report of the visa restrictions titled, ‘Proclamation on improving enhanced vetting capabilities and process’ published on www.whitehouse.gov
Apart from Nigeria, others on the list are Eritrea, Myanmar, Tanzania, Sudan and Kyrgyzstan.
The new visa regime announced by the United States Government on January 31, involves the suspension of the issuance of ‘immigrant visas’ to Nigerian passport holders. It comes into effect on February 21.
It read, “The process began on March 11, 2019, when the United States Government formally notified all foreign governments (except for Iran, Syria, and North Korea) about the refined performance metrics for the identity-management and information-sharing criteria.”
The United States Government also said Nigeria did not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the US.
It further stated, “The Department of State has provided significant assistance to Nigeria as it modernises its border management capabilities, and the Government of Nigeria recognises the importance of improving its information sharing with the United States.
“The committee will work with the United States government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented,” the statement by the media aide to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), Mr Femi Adesina, said.
The Presidency’s reaction to the development read in part, “On January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced temporary travel restrictions on six countries including Nigeria.
The Senate condemned the inclusion of Nigeria on the list of countries under United States visa restrictions and promised to spearhead a diplomatic arrangement in collaboration with the relevant agencies with a view to addressing the issues advanced by the US for the ban.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, who described the United States travel ban on Nigeria as “quite unfortunate” in an interview in Abuja, however, stressed the need for Nigeria to put in place citizenship integrity mechanism.
He said, “We need to address the issue of citizenship integrity because, at the moment, we are a nation of anonymous citizens. We don’t have records of our citizens and anybody can claim to be a Nigerian.
“I am not talking as a politician but as a patriot. We need as a government to address the issue of citizenship integrity. We should have a proper record of birth registration and identification of our citizens.”