Despite visa ban, US announces additional $40m humanitarian assistance to Nigeria
London, Feb. 5, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Barely a week after US government slammed immigration ban on Nigeria, the same government announced on Tuesday additional $40m in humanitarian aid to the country to assist victims of terrorism
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who announced this during a joint press briefing with the visiting Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama said the money was an addition to the “nearly $350 million that we provided last year”
“The foreign minister and I also discussed today the massive humanitarian crisis that the conflict with Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa and other religious and ethnic violence.
“We know that these issues are hard. We know that they’re complicated. But I strongly encouraged the Nigerian Government to do more to protect its civilians, including religious communities and the humanitarian organizations seeking to assist them.
“To aid in this effort, I’m pleased to announce today an additional $40 million in humanitarian assistance to Nigeria, adding to the nearly $350 million that we provided last year” Pompeo said at the briefing
Pompeo said despite the ban, Nigeria remained a strategic partner being America’s second-largest trading partner in Africa.
“Let me begin and talk about our economic cooperation. Nigeria is already America’s second-largest trading partner in Africa. U.S. companies from Google to Chevron to KPMG invested over a billion dollars in Nigeria in 2018 alone, creating over 18,000 jobs and indirectly supporting 3 million others.
Onyeama who was in Washington to attend the Binational Commission between the United States and Nigeria, thanked the US government for its continued support particularly on security
On the visa ban, Onyeama said Nigerian government, working with U.S. officials, had identified the shortcomings and were working on them “U.S. officials have also confirmed that we have been able to tick most of those boxes,” he said, except for data sharing on lost or stolen passports
“Trump’s proclamation specified that countries must report lost or stolen passports to Interpol within 30 days, an updated requirement under the expanded travel ban.
“Hopefully, once that has been achieved, we look forward to being taken off this visa restriction list,” Onyeama added.