The US recently announced the extension of visa restriction to six more countries, which includes; Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
The United States government has given the federal government conditions under which the recent visa policy affecting six countries could be reviewed which is:
“Once Nigeria improves her data intelligence, such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United States and meet information sharing systems, the ban might likely be reviewed.”
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Mary Beth Leonard, restated this yesterday when she paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, at the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja but people from those countries will still be able to visit the US as tourists.
Mrs. Leonard explained that the immigration policy does not affect people currently resident in the US.
She said: “I think I need to clarify something for you here. The immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the US. It does not cancel the status of anyone currently in the US.”
“What Secretary Pompey said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolveable and 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. She also stated that “Students’ visas are not affected by the current visa ban”.
On diversification policy, the US Ambassador to Nigeria said there was need for Nigerians with skills to export them so that we will not be seen as illegal immigrants when we go abroad to work. One undeniable fact about Nigeria is that we have interesting story about diversification of our economy, prosperity and the people. We are known at home and abroad for our industriousness. We want to go out as formalized persons, whether as carpenters, electricians, welders etc. because we have skills acquisition centres which currently being upgraded so that the certificates will be internationally accepted.
If the US Government’s condition for the review of the Visa Ban Policy is the only option for Nigerians, I think is a positive challenge for the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy to upgrade the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector of Nigeria. We have capable youths who can programme and design these information sharing systems who are yet to be discovered or outsource vendors with this expertise; though this might take few years but actually its worth doing as a country aiming to move from the “developing countries category” to the “developed countries category”.
The US government condition might be harsh but in a way they are challenging Nigeria to be better and more coordinated in our operations.