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Donald Trump confirms travel ban on Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, others

Valentine Chinyem

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday confirmed he would be extending travel bans on additional countries.

“Our country has to be safe,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

President Trump is expected to issue the executive order on the travel ban on Monday.

He is planning to place a travel ban on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, as well as Sudan, Tanzania and Eritrea. Other countries to be affected are the Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar as well as the European country of Belarus.

The planned visa restriction, which may be interpreted as an indictment of the Buhari administration’s failure to defeat Boko Haram, respect human rights and protect the rights of Christians and other citizens as Trump demanded during a White House meeting in 2018, comes even as Nigeria has also closed its borders to neighboring countries, saying it was, like Trump also claims, to protect Nigerian citizens and the Nigerian economy.

The Wall Street Journal reported the planned ban on Tuesday, quoting administration officials who have seen the list.

“The administration plans to place visa restrictions on seven new countries: Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The countries wouldn’t all face blanket bans on travel to the U.S., but could have restrictions placed on specific types of visas,” WSJ said.

The Washington Post added that “the administration plans to roll out its expanded travel restrictions on Monday, marking the three-year anniversary of the initial travel ban Mr. Trump signed on his seventh day in office”.

Politico, which first reported the planned travel ban, said a draft being considered by the Trump administration would place immigration restrictions on the seven countries, but not necessarily completely ban all citizens of those nations from entering the United States.

The restrictions could apply only to certain government officials, for instance, or certain types of visas, the newspaper said.

It was not clear what the reason for the ban was, and White House spokesman Hogan Gidley did not provide details about plans to expand the travel ban, but defended the original order.

“The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world,” he said. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”

Trump signed the original travel ban on Jan. 27, 2017, about seven days into his tenure.

In that order, the Trump administration said the policy restricting travel was necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism.

Politico noted that “the countries under consideration for the expanded travel ban include some that have either had solid relationships with the U.S., or which the U.S. has courted”.

Politico added: “Nigeria, for instance, is a U.S. counter-terrorism partner and there is a large Nigerian diaspora community in the United States.