Geoffrey Onyeama, Foreign Affairs Minister says no Nigerian with full valid entry visa has been denied entry to the U.S. contrary to reports.
Onyeama, who stated this 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.
It would be recalled that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had on Monday advised Nigerians with no urgent reason to visit the US to suspend their travel plans pending when there is clarity on Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
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 the 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 has 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 any one that has a 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 a discussion 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.