United States President Joe Biden’s first day in office has profited Nigeria and many other countries after the new helmsman lifted the travel restriction his predecessor, Donald Trump placed on Nigeria and others.
In his first set of executive orders, Biden reversed Trump’s policies on the coronavirus pandemic, immigration, and climate change. Biden canceled the travel ban which restricted mostly Muslim nations from traveling to the U.S.
The countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, Venezuela, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Trump had in January 2020 issued an expanded version of his travel ban that targets prospective immigrants from Nigeria and five other countries. Trump’s administration claimed the new measures were the result of failures by the six countries to meet US security and information-sharing standards.
“These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful but for a variety of different reasons simply failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out,” former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.
Democrats and immigration advocates accused the Trump administration of seeking to expand its original 2017 ban that targeted Muslim-majority countries and of disproportionately focusing on African countries and it is not surprising to see Biden making the reversal of the policy one of the first things to do as President.
Although a more defiant position was expected from Nigeria in response to the ban but it adopted a softer approach when Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama led a Nigerian delegation to Washington for a meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, which the State Department bills as “the premiere platform of engagement” to expand cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria.
After meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Onyeama told reporters that Nigeria was “somewhat blindsided” by the travel ban announcement.
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, had earlier today, urged Biden to remove all travel restrictions on Nigeria.
“I also look forward to the removal of every travel restriction on Nigerian citizens, in keeping with the good relations that has existed between our two nations, beginning with the July 27, 1961 state visit of our first Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, to President John F Kennedy, and continuing over the decades since then,” he said.