By Isaac Aregbesola
Abuja (NAN) Indications of poor coordination among officials handling Nigeria’s external relations emerged on Tuesday as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed that no Nigerian with full valid entry visa has been denied entry to the U.S.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had on Monday issued a statement advising Nigerians with no urgent reasons to shelve travel plans to the United States as persons with valid visas from Nigeria were been denied entry.
But Onyeama, said in Abuja on Tuesday that Nigerians were free to travel to U.S. as the country was not on the ban list.
The minister said he was constantly in touch with the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, adding that there was no report on Nigerians being denied entry into the U.S.
“On the issue of Nigerians being turned back from the U.S., this is not the case.
“I am in touch with the U. S. Embassy and the Ambassador said no, there was nothing of such nature.
“I can tell you to ignore any call or advice to reconsider travelling to the U.S. because there is no basis for that.”
He said that there was absolutely no report whatsoever from the U.S. that people were being turned back from the U.S. or from Nigerian consulate that Nigerians were being turned back.
According to him, if government is speaking on any external relations, it will be heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Presidency as any other source is not from the government.
He said Nigeria had embassies in almost 114 countries across the world and the ministry relied on their reports.
“The U.S. Government has been reaching out to Nigeria.
“The U.S. president took all the trouble to call our president and to offer the hand of cooperation to see how he was doing.
“And, to congratulate him on the efforts he is being making and expressing the respect that he had for him, his leadership and his government,” he said.
According to him, the U.S Secretary of State called to echo exactly the same thing and our cooperation with them is exemplary.
“Nigeria is on no list and Nigerians are on no list ban of the U.S. Government and it is always business as usual and very good business with the U.S. Government.
“Anything you hear in respect of the U.S. is incorrect, so any one that has valid document to go to the U.S. or any other country should please proceed to do so,” he said.
In the same vein, the minister said there was no life lost in the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians living in South Africa as was also reported in the media.
“I want to say that no Nigerian was killed at the last xenophobic attacks in south Africa, wherever the information is coming from it is not true.”