Reversing U.S. visa ban will take enormous resources – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said, overturning a U.S. ban on Nigerians seeking immigrant visas will take enormous resources , but the nation is making progress.
In an expanded version of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, announced in January, Nigeria was among six countries whose citizens were blocked from obtaining U.S. visas that can lead to permanent residency.
Issues such as sub-par passport technology and failure to sufficiently exchange information on terrorism suspects and criminals, were cited by United States officials as reasons for the ban.
Nigerian Interior Minister Ogbeni Aregbesola asked the U.S. ambassador in Abuja to drop the ban, but also chaired a committee to address U.S. concerns.
In a statement on Thursday, President Buhari, said that after suggestions from a report by the committee, they had “fully resolved” two out of six U.S. concerns, “substantially satisfied” two others and had made “some progress” on the last two.
He however said they were still drafting a “workable plan” for the report’s full suggestions, which require “enormous resources.”
“I am delighted that this progress, especially the uploading of Lost and Stolen Passport and Travel Documents, has been acknowledged by the United States Government,” Buhari said.
A U.S. embassy spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nigeria would harmonize citizen identification data held by different parts of government, create a national criminal management system modelled on INTERPOL and start a national criminal DNA laboratory, the president said.
His statement did not specify what Nigeria had done already. A spokesman for Buhari directed questions to Aregbesola, who could not be immediately reached.
Nigerians can still obtain visas for study, work and travel in the United States, but, in the 2018 fiscal year, just 8,000 Nigerians obtained immigrant visas.