The United States declared that the visa ban imposed on Nigeria and other countries was a temporary measure, stating that the visa ban on Nigeria will be lifted if certain conditions are met.
The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, said that the visa ban on Nigeria could be resolved between the two countries if the Nigerian government meets certain conditions.
The US ambassador said that Nigeria needed to meet its information-sharing goals before the decision can then be reversed by the US government.
She said this during a visit to Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The ambassador said the ban was based on US concerns about information sharing needs and not character definition.
Leonard said the student visa was not included in the ban though.
The ambassador said that the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who currently reside in the United States.
She also said that the ban does not cancel the status of those currently in the United States.
The US ambassador said: “I need to clarify one thing for you here, the immigrant visa ban on Nigeria does not affect people who currently reside in the United States.
“It does not cancel the status of who is currently in the United States.
“What Secretary Pompeu said was something that should be temporary.
“And these are issues with information sharing that are investigable, achievable and solvable. We look forward to Nigeria, in a very short time, reaching these information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed”.
The US ambassador noted that Nigeria was blessed with the naivety of diversifying its economy, noting that the diligent investiture of many Nigerians at home and abroad.
According to her, these were ingredients that should be used to fight unemployment.
“I think in Nigeria you have an interesting story about the diversification and prosperity of your economy and the people.
“You know that Nigerians are so well known at home and abroad for their diligence.
“You know you heard about how much of the activity in the informal sector. So, I wonder how you think about capturing that entrepreneurial spirit and bringing it into the formal service sector and increasing employment,” she added.
Ngige said that Nigeria’s inclusion in the list of countries under the US travel ban came as a shock to the country.
The minister described the ban as unjustified because of the contribution of Nigerian professionals to the US economy.
The minister said: “Some of these Nigerians are doctors, engineers and people with a high level of proficiency in the oil and gas fields.
“They were all part of Nigerian residents in the USA and it was a gross shock when the US government banned Nigerians and put us on the list of those countries whose residence status was cancelled.”
Ngige urged the US ambassador to discuss the visa ban issue with her home government in order to reach an understanding and reverse it.
The minister told the U.S. ambassador that more than 70% of Nigerians living in the U.S. were highly qualified professionals who contributed billions of dollars annually to the US economy while sending equally impressive amounts to Nigeria.
He took the opportunity of the visit to seek US collaboration and assistance in the area of poverty eradication and child labour. He said that Nigeria would not require US money, but other forms of assistance.
“We called on the US Department of Labor to help and gave them a list of what we need.
“We are not asking for monetary assistance and we are not asking for American money, but we need technical and logistical assistance as vehicles so that the employees of the inspection division can perform their duties.
“We ask the United States to help us build schools in areas where child labour is endemic. You also help create clinics and run your own training programs in those locations,” added the minister.