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The terminal of New York’s JFK International Airport. Many Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas have been denied entry and sent back to Nigeria without any explanations in the past several weeks / Photo: JFKIA

Nigeria advises citizens to avoid US trips as Trump issues new travel order

Nigeria is advising its citizens against all but essential travel to the United States because of the lack of clarity on new immigration rules, the government said on Monday (6 March).

A special adviser to the president on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in a statement that Nigerians “without any compelling or essential reasons” should consider delaying.

“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to Nigeria,” she said.

“In such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled.”

Dabiri-Erewa said “no reasons were given for the decision by the US immigration authorities”.

The recommendation to postpone trips was given “until there is clarity on the new immigration policy” from Washington, she added.

Of the 2.1 million African immigrants living in the United States in 2015, 327,000 were born in Nigeria, according to data from the Pew Research Center, published in February.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 27 to bar people from seven, Muslim-majority countries from travelling to the United States for 90 days.

It also stopped all refugees for 120 days and Syrian refugees permanently. The ban caused global outrage, as well as chaos across the United States, before it was frozen by a legal ruling.

Trump has signed a revised executive order preventing citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from travelling to the United States but removing Iraq from the list.

Presented by senior administration officials on Monday, it keeps a 90-day ban on US entry by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The White House said the new executive order also ensures that tens of thousands of legal permanent residents in the United States – or green card holders – from the listed countries would not be affected by the travel ban.

“It is the president’s solemn duty to protect the American people,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after Trump signed the new order.

“As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country.”

The new measure, due to take effect on March 16, is watered down from the original.

Sola Jolaoso with agency reports

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