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ICYMI: Why Biden revoked immigrant visa restrictions on Nigeria -US Secretary of State - PUNCH

MARCH 02, 2021

BY  Sodiq Oyeleke

The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, says President Joe Biden’s revocation of immigrant visa restrictions on Nigeria was an affirmation of the close ties between Americans and Nigerians.

He said this in a press statement titled, ‘Secretary Blinken’s Call with Nigerian Foreign Minister Onyeama’, by a spokesperson at the US Department of State, Ned Price.

Blinken was quoted as also reiterating the US support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the new Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

The statement read, “Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama to highlight the importance that the United States places on our relationship with Nigeria.

“Secretary Blinken outlined a holistic approach to the U.S.-Nigeria partnership based on our shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, and robust people-to-people relations.

“Acknowledging the threats that violent extremists pose to Nigerian and regional security, he welcomed President Buhari’s recent appointment of military service chiefs to bring new approaches to combat terrorism in the northeast and provide national security throughout the country.

“Secretary Blinken referenced President Biden’s revocation of immigrant visa restrictions on Nigeria as an affirmation of the close ties between Americans and Nigerians.

“Secretary Blinken reiterated U.S. support for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as the new Director-General of the WTO.”

Biden had in January signed some executive orders thereby lifting the immigrant visa ban placed on Nigerians by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Trump had last February placed an immigrant visa ban on Nigeria, citing Nigeria’s lack of a robust database. The American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary-Beth Leonard, stated at the time that Nigeria must improve on its data intelligence to ease the investigation of its citizens wishing to migrate to the US if it wants the ban lifted.

The Nigerian government subsequently set up a committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, to address the complaints of the US which led to the recent push for all Nigerians to register with the National Identity Management Commission and obtain a National Identity Number.

With Biden’s reversal of Trump’s order, Nigerians were able to apply for green cards.

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