Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, has sought a review of the immigrant visa ban which the United States imposed on Nigeria.
Speaking when he received Mary Leonard, US ambassador to Nigeria, in Abuja, the speaker said: “Nigeria being the giant of Africa should not be treated that way.”
The US had issued a proclamation imposing a ban on the issuance of immigrant visas on Nigeria and six other six countries.
The ban, however, did not apply to other US visas such as those for official, business, tourism and student travel.
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the department of homeland security, said the new immigration restrictions are designed to “address security concerns in the way the banned countries track their own citizens, share information with the US and cooperate on immigration matters”.
Gbajabiamila told Leonard during the visit on Tuesday that Nigeria and the US have been having a good relationship for decades, and that the ban was not in the best interest of the two countries.
“We’re excited that you’re here because the US and Nigeria have a wonderful relationship. There are two nagging issues, which I’ll like to bring this time around, which underscore the importance of our relationship,” he said.
“One is the issue of the ‘ban on Nigerian immigrants.’ There’s still no clarity on the issue. For some, it’s very hazy, and for others, they need to understand what’s going on. Even people who seek to go visit are being affected in one way or the other.
“The United States or whichever country has the right to know who comes into their country, but I think sometimes it’s important to look at things and understand why some set of people are being denied the visa.
“There are ways we can sit down and figure out what the issues are.”
Responding, the US ambassador said the immigrant visa ban on Nigeria was not meant to be a permanent one, saying it would hopefully be resolved “in a single-digit month.”