By Austin Johnson
The federal government of Nigeria through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has clarified called by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that Nigerians should stay clear of the United States of America for now until the country’s new administration’s policy on immigration is clear.
The minister stated this while briefing the media of the outcome of the UN security members visit to Nigeria on an oversight on the spot assessment of Nigerian IDP’s in Borno state. The minister said that “No Nigerian with valid US visa were turned back and those with valid travel documents are free to embark on their legitimate trip without any fear of harassment” According to him, the clarification became necessary due to series of reports received by the ministry.
The minister disclosed that he had spoken with the US Ambassador to Nigeria and high level US officials who said nothing of such had happened. He wonders why such contradictory report now.
He noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not gotten any information of sort from the Nigerian consulate in US and also caution that it is only the Office of the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that are credible sources of information on Nigeria’s foreign relations. He said “we rely on our Embassies to get information affecting our citizens”
However, Nigeria is not among the countries currently under US travel ban, noting that Nigeria and US enjoys cordial bilateral relations, which should not be truncated, the minister warned
In a related development, the minister also addressed the xenophobic attacks on foreigners including Nigerians in South Africa insisted that “No Nigerian was killed in the attacks in South Africa”
The minister cautioned the press over handling diplomatic issues that involved citizens of countries. In his words “ it is not about personalising issues but know the source of your information” He noted that all the figures reported are false. He added that the government is engaging the South African government at the highest level over the chauvinistic attacks. He informed the press that He will be leading a federal government delegation to South Africa to discuss the way forward with those concern.