The United States said it will revise its ban on some categories of migrant visa on Nigeria. This was disclosed at the end of the inaugural meeting of the U.S./Nigeria Forum, by Amb. Mustapha Sulaiman, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said while addressing the press at the conclusion of the Forum on Wednesday, that there has been improvement in the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Nigeria, thus highlighting the need to address some of their differences, including the visa restrictions.
Sulaiman said Nigeria has fulfilled almost 90 percent of what the United States government expects from her to reverse the visa ban. It could be recalled that the U.S. in January, announced visa ban on some countries, including Nigeria, on the excuse they fall short on many fronts of their ties.
But according to Sulaiman, Nigeria has responded to the concerns raised by the United States to the point that it is willing to re-evaluate the restrictions.
“We have accomplished so much within a very difficult year, but essentially we want to acknowledge and put on record Nigeria’s response to the concerns by the United States government in respect of the immigrant visa restriction that was imposed on Nigerians.
“From the assessment of the recipient of our response, I think we have accomplished almost 90 percent of the requirements that has been established in that regard. And I’m sure that if you follow the information that has been passed on the level of compliance, for instance sharing of information, we have done so much in that regard.
“That is why I believe the U.S. government is having the comfort to even re-evaluate otherwise, we wouldn’t have been candidates for re-evaluation.
“The consular forum was agreed on earlier in the year during the Bi-National Commission of the United States and Nigeria which was held in Washington January/February and that agreement is what is coming to push now. We have just had the maiden consular forum meeting today and I want to put on record that it has been a very successful meeting with various issues that were discussed,” Sulaiman said.
Acknowledging the progress made by Nigeria, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard said there has been significant progress in many fronts, including the area of information sharing.
Leonard said she’s impressed by Nigeria’s efforts and that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State will make the report on the measures taken available to the White House for Reassessment.
“I have to congratulate Nigeria on its progress on greater information sharing with the United States, which is croak of a lot of issues dealt with in these presidential proclamations. We have reviewed the Federal Government’s report on information sharing and we are inspired by the strides that Nigeria has made to improve access to stolen and lost documents.
“And particularly, encouraged by the September 7 announcement that the U.S. provided Interpol router is successfully connected to Nigeria’s Immigration Service and National Center Bureau in Abuja. Washington is extremely pleased about that development in particular,” she said.
The US Government said in January that the visa ban has been carried out for security reasons, that Nigeria has failed to comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics. It also said that the African giant failed to share public safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the US national security. These, they said resulted in the prevalence of identity theft in Nigeria.
Improvement in these areas of concern seems to have moved the United States to reconsider its earlier decision. It also means that thousands of Nigerians will have a shot at a migrant visa to the U.S. once again.