America wants Nigerians. Provided U.S. still issues non immigrant visas (NIV) to Nigerians, I still believe that Nigerians have doors to America. If 8,000 Nigerian passport holders apply for U.S. immigrant visas (IV) yearly, I expect less than 6,000 to be in Nigeria; the rest are Nigerians updating their status outside Nigeria. But U.S. issued about 169,000 NIV to Nigerians in 2017 and about 150,000 in 2018. This ban will not affect the 150,000+. Technically, the ban is largely about 6,000 people.
The U.S. gave security as a reason. That is laughable because IV applicants are more vetted than NIV. So, provided it is allowing the un-vetted NIV, security is not the reason. The Nigerian government which is setting up a committee on security missed the coded message, and is wasting its time. (Nigeria has better security records in U.S. than Saudi Arabia which is not in the list.) IV applicants have family members (American citizens) who typically sponsor them and are naturally more secure in U.S. than NIV who come as students, tourists, etc. And most NIV overstay their visas – 10% of global overstays are held by Nigerians.
Besides the public political play for U.S. election, Nigerians in America know the core reason why this happened. Out of decency and respect to Abuja, one cannot write such here. But one thing I will remind young Nigerians is this: Do not lose confidence in yourself and never allow how U.S. categorizes Nigeria to diminish you. From Yale to Harvard to CNN, “Nigerian immigrants in the US are considered one of the most successful and educated immigrant groups in the country.”
Update: CNN had edited this quote out; learn my update on same.
You can read some online websites which captured the original article by searching the exact quote, “Nigerian immigrants in the US are considered one of the most successful and educated immigrant groups in the country.”. One is here. Sure, it is gone on CNN, but it is not erased.
If you care, webcache captured it here (image below).
Simply, this ban is not because of what is happening in U.S. but what Abuja has refused to do. And including Nigeria in a list that includes Sudan, Eritrea and Burma, is the greatest ban we can experience. That would not be fixed by a committee; we know what we need to do to “restore the dignity of Nigerians”, paraphrasing the University of Nigeria’s motto.
President Trump of America has spoken; Nigeria needs to hear him loud and clear. But our nation’s leadership needs a better antenna to decipher what he has in the frequency.