About six Nigerian ministers have been meeting with American officials this week in Washington D.C. to talk about money, business and investment since President Donald Trump slammed a huge visa restrictions on Nigeria and five other countries on Friday.
With lucrative business proposals, it is expected that the Trump administration will lift the travel ban on Nigeria, and make other public announcements that may boost the image of the government amongst Nigerians.
One of the announcements was made on Tuesday, an agreement by the United States to return at least $308 million stolen by Nigeria’s late brutal military dictator Sani Abacha.
The meetings in Washington D.C. to make lucrative business proposals to the Trump administration have been secret, out of the public view. The State Department told Nigerian officials to keep them low key.
Journalists were kept away and the ministers’ agenda was closely guarded.
It was not clear how much business deals the Trump administration will be able to extract from Nigeria to lift the travel ban or make positive announcements to boost the image of the Buhari administration, but speaking in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Nigerian foreign minister Godfrey Onyeama said he expected the ban to be lifted soon.
Officially the gatherings are being described as the ‘US-Nigeria Binational Commission Meeting’, which held in Washington DC on February 3-4, 2020.
Those big names sometimes can be confusing. In a nutshell, the meetings are to further both countries’ interests in the areas of money, business and investment.
Among other ministers in attendance was the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
In a statement, officials said the meetings with Sylva and his delegation were to strengthen cooperation in the energy sector.
Sylva, who was accompanied by the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari was said to have held “a strategic meeting” with the Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, Frank Fannon.
Officials said: “In a bid to secure alignment on US Oil and Gas investments while deepening support for NNPC’s infrastructure projects, Chief Sylva accompanied by the GMD of NNPC, Mallam Kyari, and Hon. Musa Sarkin Adar met the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Energy, Matthew Zais.
“Strategic meetings were held with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. where Chief Sylva met the Managing Director for Africa, Worku Gachou and other Top Executives to seek financing intervention for NNPC’s projects and deepening of engagements with Investors to deliver infrastructure projects.
“Chief Sylva also led the team to visit the U.S. Trade and Development Agency where he met with the Ag. Deputy Director, Todd Abrajano and other key executives. The conversation focused on establishing strategic investor relations that will culminate in investments in Nigeria,” a statement said.
Apart from Sylva and Onyeama, the Minister of Defense and several others are also in Washington D.C.
But details about what is being given away for the travel ban to be lifted and positive announcements to be made by the Trump administration were not clear yet on Wednesday morning.