On January 31st, US President Donald .J. Trump Sr slammed on Nigeria alongside five other countries a travel ban. This is coming after his administration ended the birth tourism which was a huge toast among Nigerians who flock to the country like bees to the honey comb to give birth to their babies as it will give them a head start in life as they will avert the ugly incidence of being denied visas in the future. It is a hedge which will ensure that they won’t have to pay for the ineptitude of heartless African and Nigerian leaders.
This ban majorly affects the bid of Nigerians who want to immigrate to God’s own country. The authorities said it won’t affect the student visa or tourism bid of migrants but invariably it will lead to a drastic reduction of Nigerians getting these visas since the spotlight has now been beamed on the joke of a country which prides herself as ‘The Giant of Africa.’ What a sarcastic way of reference!
The major reason for the ban was because of the lack of a database to properly address security issues especially with the current wave of terrorism which is affecting the entire world. There is hardly any profiling of the boko haram insurgents with their fingerprints not been in the custody of the government. The inept government has not been pro active in battling its internal security issues with kidnappers, bandits and terrorists running amok and some of these undesirable elements being exported abroad.
The US has a point here as national security is of paramount interest to them especially when you take into cognizance the attacks on their country since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre which left thousands dead and was the precursor of the death of the one time world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden by the subsequent Barack Obama led administration.
We recall with sadness the involvement of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab in an attempted bomb attempt in a US plane in 2009. This obviously made the US place Nigeria under the radar.
Many Nigerians are furious with Uncle Sam and talk as if they are entitled to a continuous free entry into the country. The US will cater to the interests of their citizens first as they owe no apologies to Nigerians who feel ‘aggrieved.’ They can go to hell and burn to blazes for all they care. Uncle Sam comes first and not some shit hole nation apologies to Donald Trump.
According to a report by Al Jazeera, Nigerians are the third highest people who overstay their visas. About thirty thousand annually were found to have been guilty of this and this is a huge security issue especially in these times of terrorism challenges. Nigeria obviously had no data on the visa defaulters which would have been a serious issue with the government of Uncle Sam.
The response of the Nigerian government was rather lame as they said they will set up a committee to look into the matter. The foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama has been ranting on the determination by his boss to reverse the ban without any concrete agenda by the government to upturn it.
An age-long cliché goes thus: ‘Problems are opportunities.’ The ban by the US government should act as a clarion call by the Muhammadu Buhari led government to ensure good governance so that they will be no need for Nigerians to flee the nation in droves. This was a man who promised to put an end to health tourism while he campaigned in 2015 only for him to use taxpayers’ funds to treat himself for an undisclosed ailment in the United Kingdom. Does Boris Johnson run to Canada on medical tourism? Does even the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa run to the US for his health needs?
The world is watching and is not fooled by the incompetence of our leaders which has made the country the laughing stock among the international comity of nations.
We recall during the military rule of the late General Sani Abacha he forged ties with the Middle East when the west slammed his dictatorial government with heavy handed sanctions.
A responsible leadership should damn Uncle Sam and look inwards for creative ways to solve her nagging challenges instead of going cap in hand begging the world’s policeman for a soft landing.
We should take a cue from Rwanda which emerged from the ashes of a genocide to becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Their leader looked inwards and ensured that his countrymen became self sufficient and built a haven which was conducive for foreign investors to come in droves to invest in. it is sad that the most populous nation in Africa still wants to perpetually seek validation from the west.
The US government charges fourteen thousand for its visas and denies a majority of the Nigerian applicants while making billions from the applications alone. The Nigerian government still sits down and isn’t doing anything pro active to ensure the betterment of living conditions back home. What a shame!
It is high time that Nigerian leaders rose to the occasion and damn Uncle Sam by ensuring that this nation becomes one of the most desirable places to reside in the globe. It may sound utopian but the journey of a thousand miles begins with one positive step.
Let’s commence taking the baby steps.
Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos and edits www.africanbard.com