Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
President Donald Trump‘s planned travel ban set to be announced on Monday is already generating a lot of reactions across Africa, especially in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, and an ally of the United States in the war against terrorism.
Nigerians in the United States are speaking out, after President Trump confirmed on Wednesday that he would be adding four African countries, including Nigeria, to his infamous list of countries to be banned from entering the United States. (VIDEO).
Nigerians from Utah described reports of the planned travel ban on Nigeria as an insult.
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Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians live in the U.S. with many holding green cards or have become U.S. citizens.
“It’s going to be very difficult. People who are here, that are green card holders, they’ll be afraid to go back to their country right now to see family because they’re afraid that once they get in there, they may not be able to get back out,” Olufeko explained to ABC4.
The Nigerian Association of Utah wants to know what security problems the country poses, so it can be fixed.
“Yes we have a lot of Muslims and we have a lot of Christians,” Charles Idehem, the Assistant Financial Secretary for the organization said. “the Nigerian constitution is fashioned after the United States constitution. There are no laws to be afraid of. Nigerians are not terrorist.”
President Trump on Wednesday confirmed he would be extending travel bans on additional countries.
“Our country has to be safe,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
President Trump is expected to issue the executive order on the travel ban on Monday.
He is planning to place a travel ban on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as well as Sudan, Tanzania and Eritrea. Other countries to be affected are the Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar as well as the European country of Belarus.
The Washington Post added that “the administration plans to roll out its expanded travel restrictions on Monday, marking the three-year anniversary of the initial travel ban Mr. Trump signed on his seventh day in office”.
Politico, which first reported the planned travel ban, said a draft being considered by the Trump administration would place immigration restrictions on the seven countries, but not necessarily completely ban all citizens of those nations from entering the United States.
The restrictions could apply only to certain government officials, for instance, or certain types of visas, the newspaper said.
It was not clear what the reason for the ban was, and White House spokesman Hogan Gidley did not provide details about plans to expand the travel ban, but defended the original order.
“The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world,” he said. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”
Trump signed the original travel ban on Jan. 27, 2017, about seven days into his tenure.
In that order, the Trump administration said the policy restricting travel was necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, explaining that countries on the list did not adequately vet their travelers to the U.S.
The 2017 order initially denied visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, but was later modified following outrage and court challenges.
Politico noted that “the countries under consideration for the expanded travel ban include some that have either had solid relationships with the U.S., or which the U.S. has courted”.