The Nigerian presidency on Saturday explained that the US visa suspension on Nigerian citizens is not a blanket restriction but relative. President Muhammadu Buhari’s media adviser listed other visa issuance opportunities still open to Nigerians.

The presidency acknowledged that on 31st January 2020, the United States (U.S) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary travel restrictions on six countries, including Nigeria.

The president’s media adviser explained that for Nigeria, the restriction is the suspension of the issuance of “immigrant visas” to Nigerian passport holders only. This suspension, he noted, shall come into effect on 21st February 2020. It was, however, said that the suspension does not apply to other U.S visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.   

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The presidency also noted that the DHS stated the suspension of “immigrant visas” became necessary following a review and update of the methodology (performance metrics) adopted by the U.S Government to assess compliance of certain security criteria by foreign governments. This resulted in certain enhancements on how information is shared between Nigeria and the U.S.

“Nigeria remains committed to maintaining productive relations with the United States and its international allies especially on matters of global security. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements. The committee will work with the U.S Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented,” a statement from the presidency read.