US Travel Ban: How Buhari Played Into Trump’s Hands As CAN order Members Out On A Prayer Walk Against Killings In The Country

By Suleiman Umaru

It is  no longer news that  Chad Wolf, the United States, US, Secretary for  Home Land Security ,  on the orders of President Donald Trump,  on Friday, February 1st, 2020,  announced  a  travel  ban ,  restricting  immigrations from Nigeria, Eriterea,  Sudan , and Tanzanian,  all African countries  and  the  Asian country  of  Myanmar,  where the Muslim minority   is fleeing genocide from applying for the country’s VISAs  as it may no longer be approved.

Also affected in the expanded US travel ban was   Kyrgyzstan, a former  old Soviet Union state, thus,  bringing the number of countries under the  North American country travel ban to thirteen between 2017 and now.

Donald Trump: US, President

Indeed, what makes it news is that  hundreds of Nigerians who had trooped to the US  embassy in Abuja and the Lagos Consulate office  based on appointment  with the  officials  were disappointed as they could not be attended to. There was even rumour making the rounds that David Oyedipo, the founder of  the Megachu rch  Terbanacle,  Winners Church  Chapel International  based in Ota, Ogun state, was one of those prominent Nigerian  religious leader  who was allegedly  denied  VISA, forcing him to challenge the  US  Consulate officials but that was how far he could. He was forced to abandon the trip.

   Not that the initial  travel   ban was  only  extended  to citizens of    Iran, Libya,  Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea. The travel ban , according to Diplomatic experts ,  will virtually  block  immigrations  from Nigeria and Mynmar, which  were said to have substantial muslim populations.

The US, 2020, travel  ban, on citizens of Nigeria, particular,    appears to have taken President Muhammadu Buhari   by surprise  as he was forced  to  set  up a Committee, Headed by  Rauf Aregbesola , a former governor of Osun state and  now, minister of Interior,  to study  and address the updated  US requirements for applying for  the  country’s VISA .

 The Kastina state born Nigerian President  may  have appointed Areagbesola, to Head the Committee because  Wolf,   his counterpart in the US, Executive,  was the  person that broke the troubling  news to the public.Given the importance attached to the Committee, the President  was said to have given it  the mandate   to work  closely with the American  government , INTERPOL and other relevant stakeholders,  to ensure that all updates are properly implemented.

Pastor Adeboye led RCCG Prayer Walk In Honour Of CAN Directive

Trump may  have known the implication of  imposing a  blanket travel ban on Nigeria ,alongside the  five other countries nationals  being one of the biggest  trading partners with Nigeria. This may have informed why the Home Land Security, which  requested  that  those  seeking  for official, business, tourism and student travel  VISAs, should be exempted,  and it was promptly approved  by the US  Prsident.  

 Security watchers believe that the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, may  have  given the US  government  the  opportunity  to impose the travel ban on Nigeria. The party had raised alarm that the country is in grave  danger , urging  the Katsina state born Nigerian President  to resign  for failing to secure the nation and thus, putting the country’s Democracy  under threat’’.

 The party had  made matters worse for the country  by submitting  protest letter  to the embassies of the US and the United Kingdom, UK,  which were said to have reached the duo,  Trump and Boris Johnson,  Prime minister of Britain. Trump has been waiting to get   reports about the security situation of the country  from Abuja  embassy and Lagos Consulate , in order  to decide  on what to do  to  protect its the security  from terrorists  that  might want to penetrate the country from Nigeria.  It was, therefore, not surprising that , when the opportunity came, he did not hesitate in  imposing a temporary travel ban  on Nigeria  .

 Femi  Adesina,  Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, alluded to the fact that  the suspension of  immigration  VISAs  to Nigeria  nationals  became necessary   due to security  related  information sharing between Nigeria and the US government but  could not go beyond that.

  But the f US, Department of State, equivalent of Nigeria ministry of Foreign Affairs,  had said that the country took the decision  because Nigeria has failed to comply  with the established  identity –management  and information  sharing  criteria  assessed by its performance   metrics, an indication that the security situation of the country had deteriorated.

Ali Ndume, a Senator of Federal Republic  of Nigeria, representing  Borno south Senatorial  district and Chairman, Senate Committee, on Army , appear to have Collaborated the view of the US, Homeland Security, that the security situation in the north east Nigeria is getting worse  by the day. Ndume , who could hide his feelings  when he appear on Channels Television , Sunday politics, lamented the resurgence   of the Boko Haram/Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP and the frequent attack on Communities  in various local government Areas of the state.

He had cited the recent attack  on Communities in Askira  and Damboa  , two local government  Areas, within his Senatorial district  where some  people were said to have been killed  and valuables including food items were carted away, an indication that if the soldiers could put in more effort and caught off their  sources of  food supply the war in the region would be over.

His majory  is the ease at which the BokoHaram and ISWAP, Insurgents enter  most of the Communities in the  local government Areas  to carry out their attacks  despite large presence of security personnel in the state and escape to thin air.  Take for instance, about two weeks ago,  two bombs  were said to have been detonated  in Gwoza,  where the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has a College, for Training of its Cadets . Ndume, described as a radical Lawmaker , from Borno,  also confirmed the Insurgents attack  on Muno,  a few Kilometer to Maiduguri, the state Capital, an indication that it may be the only place that is safe in the state because of the large Concentration of soldiers,  thus , exposing Askira, Damboa, and other Local government Areas to the terrorists. This may have informed why the Islamic Fundamentalists have stepped  up their  efforts to  take over Maiduguri, by launching attacks on the nearby Communities to draw the attention  of the  Tukur Buratai, a Lt .General and Chief of Army that they  are  are as strong as ever.

There are fears  in both official  and unofficial circles that the Insurgents had penetrated  Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital and are waiting for an opportunity to regroup and engage  the soldiers  for control of the north east City.

Recall, that  Babagana Umara Zulum, a Professor And the state  governor , late last year had held a closed door meeting with the Katsina state born Nigerian President,  when he noticed the  threat on Maiduguri  with the  attacks on Communities in Gubio,  Magumeri and Koduga,  as he was said to have wept because of the frequency of the attacks.  

The governor was said to  have severally met  with  the Theatre Commander of  Operation Lafiya Dole  nd the Commander of   the various Brigades in  the  local government Areas of the state  who were said to have given assurance   of sustained  military  action in the state but not much appear to have been achieved by the soldiers to contain the activities of the Insurgents who had continued to wreck  havoc  in the state.

 The insecurity situation in the north east , with the kipnap and Killing of  Lawan Andimi, a Clergyman and Chairman, of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Michika Local government Area, of Adamawa, home state of Atiku Abubakar, a  former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP, in the last general election, may have forced the leadership of the religious Association to orders its members   cross the country on a prayer walk  against the killings in the country.

 Last Sunday, Enoch Adejare Adeboye,   the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, ileading ,  was said to have  led the  Prayer  walk,  against the   insecurity in the country at Ebute Emeta, Lagos Mainland  Local government, amidst tight security.  Some of the placards  carried by  the people reads : Every life matters, Shed No Blood it Cries To God, All Souls Are Precious To God, It is Evil To kill. The Prayer walk may have  been very successful in the Lagos axisis because  Adeboye, the RCCG, General Overseer, had  had directed  members    to participate  in the Prayer Walk declared by  CAN, to protest the spate of killings across the country.   

 Recall that the  US Department of State had blamed the inclusion  of Nigeria to the list of countries  on the xpanded travel ban  list to the Buhari led government for failing   to adequately share public safety  and terrorism related information  necessary for  the protection of the national security.

The US Department of Stated  noted that despite  support  to the Nigerian government  in the global   fight against terrorism  and Border  management  capabilities, the West African country  has not considered  it necessary to improve its information sharing on terrorism matters with the US, fueling speculations making the rounds  that the country was hiding the identity of the terrorists  who are carry out the killings  in the country. 

 Aware of the country’s  security lapses over the last four years  which had  escalated the   insurgency   in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and  Bandit attacks in Sokoto, regarded as  the Caliphate state and Katsina, the President , home state, and Zammfara,   Buhari, had met recently with the service Chiefs, at the Council Chambers, State House, to rub mind  on how to adoption new security options to handle the deteriorating  the security challenge of the country .

Nigerians , in diaspora, particular, those in the US, who already  had their green cards  are not happy the government is  doing much to address   the Trump  new Immigration policy which would affect their state in the country.  A source at the Nigerian Immigration Service , NIS,  told The value News  that  the travel ban  is a big blow to other  Nigerians  who may be hoping   of  relocating  to the US ,to start a new  life through the  lottery process.

 The source   disclosed  that the  Nigeria immigrants make up the largest number  of the African Continent immigrants population living in the Us. Feelers from the US embassy, shows that  over   327,000 Nigerians are living in various  states in the country, mostly in  Washington  Seatle,  Dallas, Chicago,  Baltimore, Atlanta, Phoenix and Houston.

It was gathered that in 2018 alone,   the US government had  granted  Nigerians  living in the country  about 14,000 green cards. The citizens  of  other countries  included  in the expanded  travel ban were granted  a  combined total  of 6,000 green cards. There are fears that the figure would drop signigficantly this year with the Travel ban imposed on Nigeria by Trump.

 Last year, Nigeria was  said  to have also  top  the  counties sending  foreign students to the US.  It was said to have had  over 13,000 student studying in different Universities in the North American  country.

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