Nigeria Urges Its Citizens to Put Off Visiting the U.S. Unless Absolutely Necessary

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Trump’s revised travel ban that excludes Iraq came after several Nigerians with valid visas were sent back home. (Fiickr)

The United States is looking less and less welcoming to would-be visitors.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is advising its citizens against traveling to the U.S., except on urgent trips. The move is in response to reported difficulties Nigerians have faced gaining entry into the U.S., despite holding valid visas.

During a business trip on March 2, Nigerian software engineer Celestine Omin was detained despite holding a valid visa. Before granting him entry, officials at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport forced Omin to answer generic engineering questions to prove his profession.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a presidential aide on foreign affairs and diaspora, appears to blame such incidents on confusion over U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent failed executive order, which banned visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. On March 6, Dabiri-Erewa advised prospective visitors to the U.S. to “consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy.”

“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry U.S. visas being denied entry and sent back to the Nigeria,” Dabiri-Erewa said. “In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were canceled.”

Trump’s travel ban was revised and re-issued Monday, March 6. Neither version mentioned Nigeria.

Nigerians are major visitors to the U.S. They accounted for 32 percent of the nearly half million non-immigrant U.S. visas issued to African nationals in 2015.

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