Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has appealed to President Donald Trump to reconsider the United States’ travel ban on Nigeria because of the two nations’ long standing relationship, saying he should not punish Nigerians as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s gross inefficiencies.
Trump, on Friday implemented his threat to restrict the ability of immigrants to travel to the United States from Nigeria and five other countries, with the visa ban taken effect from 22 February.
However, Atiku, while reacting to the development on Saturday said he received with sadness the policy of the government of the United States of America to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.
He said while he understood the reasons given by the Trump administration (the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism), the ban did not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States.
“I urge the government of President Donald Trump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships. Nigeria was one of the few African nations that joined the US-led coalition during Operation Desert Storm between 1990-1991 when the United States championed the liberation of Kuwait.
“The Trump administration may also consider the pivotal role Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia, an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria had also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multilateral world bodies, saying this “is even as we are perhaps the biggest trading partner that the United States has in Africa, even where we had alternatives.”
He added that Nigerians love the United States and had been a major force for the positive development of that great nation, as 77% of all Black doctors in the United States were Nigerians.
“Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America bar none. Surely, the US stands to benefit if it allows open borders with a country like Nigeria that is able to provide skilled, hardworking and dedicated personnel in a two-way traffic.
“The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies. Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population,” he said.