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Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama Counters Abike Dabiri’s Claim that some Nigerians are being Denied Entry into U.S.

BellaNaija.com

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Minister of Foreign Affairs – Geoffrey Onyeama

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, Foreign Affairs Minister says no Nigerian with full valid entry visa has been denied entry to the U.S.

This was in reaction to a statement made by President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant (Foreign Affairs and Diaspora) Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

The statement signed by Dabiri-Erewa’s media aide, Abdurrahman Balogun read:

In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to Nigeria. In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled. No reasons were given for the decision by the US immigration authorities.

The statement added that the FG is advising “Nigerians without any compelling or essential reasons to visit the US to consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy.”

Onyeama, who debunked the report while fielding questions from newsmen over the issue, said Nigerians were free to travel to U.S. as the country was not on the ban list.

The minister said he was constantly in touch with the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, adding that there was no report on Nigerians being denied entry into the U.S.

“On the issue of Nigerians being turned back from the U.S., this is not the case. I am in touch with the U. S. Embassy and the Ambassador said no, there was nothing of such nature. I can tell you to ignore any call or advice to reconsider travelling to the U.S. because there is no basis for that.

We have absolutely no report whatsoever from the U.S. that people are being turned back from the U.S. or any of our consulate or any Nigerian that any of our people are being turned back,” he said.

According to him, if government is speaking on any external relations, it will be heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Presidency as any other source is not from the government.

He said Nigeria had embassies in almost 114 countries across the world and the ministry relied on their reports.

“The U.S. Government has been reaching out to Nigeria. The U.S. president took all the trouble to call our president and to offer the hand of cooperation to see how he was doing. And, to congratulate him on the efforts he is being making and expressing the respect that he had for him, his leadership and his government,” he said.

According to him, the U.S Secretary of State called to echo exactly the same thing and our cooperation with them is exemplary.

“Nigeria is on no list and Nigerians are on no list ban by the U.S.  Government and it is always business as usual and very good business with the U.S. Government. Anything you hear in respect of the U.S. is incorrect, so anyone that has valid document to go to the U.S. or any other country should please proceed to do so,” he said.

In the same vein, the minister said there was no life lost in the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians living in South Africa as was also reported in the media.

“I want to say that no Nigerian was killed at the last xenophobic attacks in south Africa, wherever the information is coming from it is not true. We have the high commissioner and we have the consular there and the report of people being killed is not correct,” he said.

He said the Federal Government was having discussions with the South African Authority at the highest level to ensure that the issue did not repeat itself.

Onyeama said the discussion was also to ensure the protection of foreigners living in South Africa.

U.S President Donald Trump had on Monday signed a new executive order which bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, dropping Iraq from January’s previous order, and reinstated a temporary blanket ban on all refugees.

The new travel ban comes six weeks after Trump’s original executive order caused chaos at airports nationwide before it was blocked by federal courts.

It removed language in the original order that indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and called for prioritising the admission of refugees who are religious minorities in their home countries.

That provision drew criticism of a religious test for entry and would have prioritised Christians over Muslims fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East.

The new ban, which takes effect March 16, also explicitly exempts citizens of the six banned countries who are legal U.S permanent residents or have valid visas to enter the US.

This included those whose visas were revoked during the original implementation of the ban, senior administration officials said.

13 Comments

  1. Cynical

    March 8, 2017 at 9:44 am

    He said,she said……which one do we take? The one from the minister of foreign affairs of course,when last I checked,that’s the body in charge of anything ”diaspora”.

    • FasholasLover

      March 8, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Don’t mind the confused bunch that is this govt’. Very uncoordinated lot. Of course, I agree with the Minister. Abike over reached herself this time. The minister does come across as a refined gentleman. Abike still playing the Agbero Lagos style kinda politics. Imagine that nonsense tweet when Japhet was detained in SA. Expectation is that when you reach a stage in life both private and in public, you let some things go.

    • mujer

      March 9, 2017 at 3:54 am

      Is this a turf battle or reality? An attorney friend says three of his clients who normally spend 3-4 weeks in the US and were stamped to spend only 1 to 2 weeks. Which one? I understand she crossed her lane and you are trying to put her back in her swim lane but let it not come at the expense of people losing their multiple visas to a few righteous immigration officials that seem themselves as weird gatekeepers of whiteness.

  2. keke driver

    March 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Confused people…Awon oniranu

  3. Big Tee

    March 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Is it too difficult to provide a unified message? Don’t they have access to each other to discuss these things before going public?

  4. Ro2

    March 8, 2017 at 10:40 am

    I would rather believe Abike Dabiri-Arewa to the Minister who is trying to play safe here. It is because the foreign affairs ministry failure to stand up for Nigerians in diaspora. Abike Dabiri’s portfolio was created. RIP Mr Ashiru (former foreign affairs minister) who stood up for Nigeria when its matters.

  5. isaid!!

    March 8, 2017 at 11:10 am

    I will take my chances with Honorable Abike Dabiri- Erewa, she seems to be on ground. Where has the minister been all this while.

  6. Didi

    March 8, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Hmm some people have truly been turned back o.

  7. nne

    March 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    As a lawyer who has gotten calls from naijas at the airport, i can tell you all that Dabiri’s announcement was correct. Has anybody here tried to call the Nigerian embassy in the US when in trouble? Waste of time, so when the minister is citing naija embassy you know na breeze im dey yarn. Now should Dabiri have issued the alert without talking to the minister or Ambassador? Nope. I hope Osibanjo gets to take over completely soon and can fire this lot of confusionists.

  8. Ruby

    March 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Who are you Mr Minister? I would rather go with Abike Dabiri’s statement than yours. You don’t sound “on ground” as she does. A clear case of textbook and pratical theory. If you feel what she said is wrong won’t it have been better to call, send an email, memo, or a sit down to talk et al before coming out to counter your colleague. Abike we know and trust, surely no one will call you when they are in trouble, they will call a known face who has always spoken out because if Abike hasn’t said anything your office will just sit down on information and do as if nothing is going on.

  9. Barrister

    March 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Very timid minister trying to be seen as being diplomatic. Where were you when Nigerian businesses were being looted and destroyed in SA Xenophobic attacks?!

    There are cases of Nigerians being sent back on the next available fight to Nigeria for reasons like, why did they buy tickets with connecting flights from the Middle East the US. What the Immgration officers don’t know is that, some people like to buy cheap tickets.

  10. Memoir

    March 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    People get turned back all the time since 19 kpirigidim. Before Obamas admin, during this admin and after Trump admin. It is the law of the land. A visa does not mean automatic entrance for any foreign national as law requires you must satisfy a custom/immigration officer. A friend 2 years ago got to JFK for the first time and could not provide a phone # of relative he was supposedly visiting. Unfortunately for him, the custom/immigration officer he encountered was not very kind and he was turned back to Lagos on next available flight. Uk, other nations do this as well. What’s most important is at this point of immigration sensitivity and liberals still upset of losing elections in the US is that one with a visa should travel with caution(urgency) as well as every legit information needed. This is a no brainer

  11. Mujer

    March 9, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Mr minister, what is your response to these stories of your fellow Nigerians? lindaikejisblog.com/2017/03/nigerian-man-handcuffed-and-locked-in.html?m=1

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