The United States has announced it is expanding the travel ban first introduced by President Donald Trump in 2017 to six countries; Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
Other nations previously on the list are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea.
The ban would prevent Nigerians from applying for immigration visas, the type that can lead to permanent residency in the United States.
Last year, the US issued eight-thousand and eighteen immigrant visas to Nigerians, twice as many than to the other five new nations on the ban list combined.
However, non-immigrant visa given to people for temporary stays – including students, those doing business or people seeking medical treatment – is not impacted by the new rules.
In the press release announcing the ban, the reason for the suspension of immigration visas to Nigerians given by the US government is that:
Nigeria does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.
Nigeria does not adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection and public safety of the United States.
Nigeria also presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.
The ban is to take effect from February 22.
In response, President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a committee, chaired by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, to study and address updated U.S. requirements relating to the assessment of compliance with certain security criteria by foreign governments.
Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions to news of the ban on social media, the majority of which claim to be in shock with a few praising the move as “Nigerians would stay at home and build their country.”