I am not in support of adding Nigeria to the ban list but I won’t blame the United States because of some of the following: One, Nigerians are some of the highest migrants with visiting visa to the US. I have forgotten the particular year: over 25,000 Nigerians with visiting visa disappeared in the US. So if you disappeared in the US with a visiting visa, you are part of the cause.
Two, Nigeria mixes its security forces with so-called repentant terrorists. They said they are repentant and reformed after few months of rehabilitation and feeding. Nobody knows who is who.
Three, Nigeria has no national data. With free visa to all Africans for a nation without a national data and any Dick and Harry can acquire our passport, that makes the holders of this passport dangerous. Our boarder is so porous that the terrorists fleeing the Middle East are ending up in Nigeria.
Four, Killing and kidnapping in Nigeria is now normal. Nobody or group has ever been held accountable over any of the killings in Nigeria, be it a single murder or a village pogrom. These killers are also holders of the same Nigerian passport and nobody knows them. The bandits are another set of killers and kidnappers. They are deep in crime, but no identity and they have or can acquire the green passport. The kind of killings and kidnappings tolerated in Nigeria by our government will never be tolerated in a saner clime like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Botswana, and about 45 other African countries.
Five, our economy is down from a $520 billion economy Goodluck Jonathan handed over in 2015 to about $375 billion at the moment. An economy that lost about $145 billion of its economic strength with weak currency in the face of ever increasing population will definitely create a pandemic mentality hence increase in visa violations and travelling through the Mediterranean Sea. Nigerians constitute large percentage of those dying at high sea or making it to Italy or Spain from Morocco or Western Sahara. It’s desperation.
Another reason could be that there is no improvement in governance from the gains of 2015 in Nigeria, instead the country is back-pedaling to stone age. There is no future plan or direction, no economic direction and there is absolute disenchantment that Nigeria. Many people outside Nigeria view the country as the Somalia of West Africa.
Constant demonstrations by some people in Nigeria shouting death to America over issues that do not concern Nigerians. Recently, the killing of Soleimani in Iraq attracted protests from across major cities in the north and often happens each time something that does not concern us happens. When you add the fact that a Nigerian named Abdulmutallab actually tried to bomb American airline some years back, you will understand that American government must have come to conclusion that Nigerian system produces anti American sentiment. The possible culmination in visa ban started long ago well into Obama’s administration. What could make an American president do eight years without visiting Nigeria? If we are doing well as a nation, nobody will ignore us and there won’t be mass exodus of people.
Average Nigerians won’t be happy to see Nigeria enter American or any country’s travel ban list especially if one is genuine, law abiding and harbors no plan of fleeing especially through back door. But on American side, it also makes sense because self-preservation is the mother of defence. In all these reasons, the ones that must have taken the cake are open border to Africans, easy acquisition of Nigeria’s passport and pandering of terrorists. The question is: if you were American government, how would you see Nigeria as a country with all information available to you?
––Obi Ebuka Onochie, firstname.lastname@example.org