Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has pleaded with the Donald Trump-led US Government not to punish ordinary Nigerians for the mistakes of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The United States had revealed that it placed a fresh ban on Nigeria and other countries due to failure to comply with its established identity-management and information-sharing criteria.
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the new immigration restrictions were designed to “address security concerns in the way the banned countries track their own citizens, share information with the U.S. and cooperate on immigration matters”.
The proclamation will however not take effect until February 22, 2020.
Other countries said to be affected by the new ban are Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan.
The total number of countries on the restricted travel list now stands at 13.
Reacting in a statement on Saturday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate expressed sadness over the latest visa policy.
The former vice president pleaded with the United States to take into consideration the good relationship between countries and lift the ban.
He noted that Nigeria has also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies.
Atiku said: “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.
“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.
“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.”