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Nigeria Issues Travel Warning Against U.S. After Authorities Force IT Expert To Prove His Identity

Trump’s ban Prompts Nigeria To warn Its Citizens Against Traveling to the U.S.

Stateside, the situation for immigrants becomes more tense everyday.

Nigeria has warned its people to refrain from visiting the United States. Officials advised citizens to avoid travelling to the U.S. unless it is truly essential. The advisory comes after several Nigerians reportedly had their valid visas cancelled, and were subsequently denied entry into the U.S.

Since President Trump signed an executive order in January banning citizens from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States, things have become extremely hard for immigrants traveling to and from the country. On Monday, Trump signed a new order removing Iraq from the list (Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen). Nigeria is neither named by the ban, nor is it a Muslim-majority country.

In February, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Nigeria, citing the unpredictable security situation caused by the presence of Boko Haram.

But this time the warning has come the other way. As Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a senior special assistant to Nigeria’s President on foreign affairs and diaspora, told CNN:

“Four Nigerians have been sent back in the past two weeks so we are advising that those without any urgent need to travel should consider rescheduling their trip until there is clarity on the new immigration policy… no reasons were given for the decision by the US immigration authorities.”
One case was a doctor who was travelling to attend a wedding, but was denied entry at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
There was also the case of software engineer Celestine Omin, who was detained on March 2 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, while on a work trip from Lagos to his employer, Andela. Omin was asked at the airport to prove through a series of generic questions that he was an IT expert since he,
“didn’t look like an engineer and needed to take a test to prove it. He was then asked to answer two difficult computer science questions.”
According to QuartsNigeria is a major source of visitors to the U.S. In 2015, Nigerians accounted for 32% of the almost half a million non-immigrant U.S. visas that were issued to people from the African continent. Regardless of the loss this could mean to the U.S., it is ironic how an insecure country has the need to issue a travel warning against the ‘land of the free’.

Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images Nes

From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.