Lai Mohammed: Purported U.S. travel ban on Nigeria ill conceived

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The Federal Government says the speculated plan by the U.S. to add Nigeria to its existing list of visa travel ban countries is ill conceived.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Monday in London.
The minister is in London to officially engage with international media and other think tank.
According to Mohammed, although the report is speculative, but if it turns out to be true, the government will respond comprehensively.
“On the issue of the travel ban, our position is that it is still speculative because we are yet to be communicated. When we are communicated, we will respond comprehensively.
“However, in our view, it was not well thought out but based largely on negative narratives spread by naysayers.
“I know that we are working very well with our neighbours to ensure that terrorism is addressed. We are working with international community including the EU and the U.S.
“Our advice to the U.S. is that it should have a rethink on the issue because any travel ban is bound to affect investment and growth in the country and those who will be affected are the most vulnerable people in Nigeria,” he said.
It was recently reported that the Donald Trump administration planned to add Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to its existing list of U.S. visa travel ban countries.
Speaking on the border closure, the minister said that Nigeria took the hard decision because the neighbours, notably Benin Republic and Niger Republic, failed to respect the ECOWAS Treaty on Transit of Goods.
“Not only that they are sabotaging the economy of the country but also the security of the nation was being threatened.
“Under the guise of smuggling rice, a lot of small arms and light weapons are being smuggled into the country,” he said.
Mohammed said the border drill had been positive and successful in terms of revenue, securing the nation and boosting the capacity of the farmers.
On the date to end the closure, he said the government was awaiting the outcome and recommendations of the committee that was set up to look into the issue.
The minister also said that measuring the successes recorded in the fight against terrorism in the North-East region must go beyond the military.
He said that the fight against insurgency in the region had been largely successful in the area of economy and social activities.
Specifically, he said that the Monday markets in Maiduguri and the popular Baga fish market which respectively contributed a lot to the economy of the state had remained open.
He added that schools had remained open in the state since the Administration came into power while social activities had come back to life.

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