JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria has advised its citizens against any non-urgent travel to the United States until the US clarifies its visa rules.
Africa’s most populous country was not one of the seven countries affected by US President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban, the BBC reported on Monday.
However, a special adviser to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buharu said in a statement that there had been several cases in which Nigerians with valid US visas had been denied entry into the country.
Following their refusal, Abuja decided to advise its citizens against all travel to the US unless absolutely necessary.
It appears the travel advisory is reflective of the uncertainty generated by Trump’s executive orders, with the American president reissuing a new travel ban on Monday, but this time leaving Iraq off the list of seven majority-Muslim countries banned from entering America.
Meanwhile, a court in Nigeria has found a former state governor guilty of corruption in one of the first high-profile convictions in Buharu’s fight against corruption.
James Bala Ngilari was sentenced to five years in jail for corruption after he was found in breach of due process for awarding a contract worth more than $500,000 for the procurement of 25 cars.
Ngilari, from the opposition party People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was governor of the north-eastern state of Adamawa from October 2014 to May 2015.
Adamawa was heavily involved in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency and Ngilari’s lawyer used this as a pretext to plead for leniency for his client, stating that the former governor had led the state at the height of the insurgency and contributed significantly to the fight against the Islamist group.
However, Judge Nathan Musa appeared unmoved by the plea, saying the sentence would be a warning to other politicians.
“It is my hope that his conviction and sentence will serve as a deterrent to other serving governors,” said Musa.
In response to his conviction, Ngilari told reporters as he was transferred to the prison van that the judgement was flawed and he would appeal.
In an ironic twist, he had first served as Adamawa’s deputy governor but took over as governor after two years following the impeachment of his predecessor over corruption allegations.
– African News Agency (ANA)