Atiku to Trump on US travel ban on Nigeria: Punish those responsible, not the Nigerian people

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The US travel ban on Nigeria has been greeted with sadness. Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar in an OP-ED he sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. called on the Trump administration not punish ordinary Nigerians but single out those responsible for their woes.

I received with sadness the policy of the government of the United States of America to place Nigeria on its travel ban list. 

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While I understand the reasons given by the Trump administration (the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism), the ban does not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States. 

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I urge the government of President Donald Trump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships. Nigeria was one of the few African nations that joined the US led coalition during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, when the United States championed the liberation of Kuwait. 

The Trump administration may also consider the pivotal role Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia, an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation. 

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Nigeria has also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies. This is even as we are perhaps the biggest trading partner that the United States has in Africa, even where we had alternatives.

Nigerians love the United States and have been a major force for the positive development of that great nation: 77 per cent of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerians. Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America BAR NONE. Surely, the US stands to benefit if it allows open borders with a country like Nigeria that is able to provide skilled, hardworking and dedicated personnel in a two-way traffic. 

The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies. 

Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population. 

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Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar
Atiku Abubakar is a Nigerian politician, businessman and philanthropist who served as the second elected Vice-President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. This is an official statement from him.

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