After Trump travel ban, Buhari dispatches several Nigerian ministers to Washington to talk investment, oil and money with American officials

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.

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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.

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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.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

4 COMMENTS

  1. The major issue that is at hand is not about Nigeria trying to impress or engage America by increasing the amount of business dealings with both countries. The major reason from the White House press release is given below;

    (e) Nigeria

    (i) Nigeria does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics. Nigeria does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States. Nigeria also presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States. Nigeria is an important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism, and the United States continues to engage with Nigeria on these and other issues. The Department of State has provided significant assistance to Nigeria as it modernizes its border management capabilities, and the Government of Nigeria recognizes the importance of improving its information sharing with the United States. Nevertheless, these investments have not yet resulted in sufficient improvements in Nigeria’s information sharing with the United States for border and immigration screening and vetting.

    (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Nigeria as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

    That being said, the solution to Nigeria being taken off the US Travel Ban list is to comply with America’s Information sharing and Identity management standards, and work with them in order to lift the ban. Is it not new news that Nigerian population in America have one of the highest frequencies in Visa Violation and Overstaying their visas. Therefore the Nigerian government has to consider that fact, and improve their identity management standards and work with the US in order to reduce the rate at which Nigerian citizens violate their visas in order for the Ban to be lifted. Instead of trying to sweet talk the American government with business deals and investment talks, they should address the main issue at hand and work collaboratively with the US government in upping our immigration and foreign standards. I believe that without the major issue being looked into, no matter the amount of business deals made with America, President Donald Trump would not take off the Ban placed on Nigeria except there is sufficient evidence that the standards of information sharing and Identity management has being met.

  2. America didn’t say Nigeria should woo with investment for America
    America states that Nigeria is a risky country to allow in their Country by giving them access to permanent residency

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