The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday, January 27; says the speculated plan by the U.S. to add Nigeria to its existing list of visa travel ban countries is ill-conceived.
Lai Mohammed made this assertion during an interview session with Reuters News Agency.
It was reported that the minister is in London to officially engage with international media and other think tanks.
According to Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government will respond comprehensively; if the report turns out to be true.
“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 the 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; 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 revealed that Nigeria took the hard decision because the neighbours; notably the Benin Republic and the 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.
Lai Mohammed said the border drill had been positive and successful in terms of revenue; securing the nation and boosting the capacity of the farmers.
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.