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GC Posted On: Jan 28, 2020

Nigerias Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, says his country is doing everything it possibly can to avoid making U.S. President Donald Trumps travel ban list.

Trump intends to add Nigeria to a list of countries that will be hampered by visa restrictions to the United States.

The U.S. president said last week that he would add more countries to his travel ban list. While he offered no details, a source familiar with the proposal said the tentative list includes seven nations Nigeria, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania.

Noting that a formal announcement from the U.S. is imminent, Mohammed said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had been blindsided by the yet-to-be-announced decision and had no warning from Washington that it could be added to the list.

Mohammed told Reuters that the move would be hasty and send the wrong signal to investors.

Abuja had reached out to the U.S. administration since learning of the plan, Mohammed said, adding that his government did not get any warning and had not been told any possible reason.

A travel ban is going to send the wrong signal to investors, it is going to stifle the good of the country and vulnerable people who need medication and schools will be the most affected, Mohammed said.

As Africas largest economy and most populous nation, Nigeria is a U.S anti-terrorism partner with a large diaspora community in the United States.

It remains unclear what sort of restrictions Nigeria might face if added to the list and the U.S. administration is yet to comment.

Under the current version of the U.S. travel ban of foreign countries, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and some Venezuelan officials and their relatives, are blocked from obtaining a large range of U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Nigeria has done very well in the area of fighting terrorism, Mohammed said, adding that Washington helped drive terrorist groups such as the Islamic State, out of Nigeria.

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