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Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama speaks next to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington. Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama speaks next to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 4, 2020 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

Why Nigeria Has Responded to Trump’s Travel Ban With Caution, Not Outrage

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020

The Trump administration provoked another international outcry when it announced late last month that it was adding six new countries to its list of nations that face broad travel restrictions to the United States: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The expansion of the travel ban, which President Donald Trump first issued as an executive order just days after his inauguration in January 2017, will take effect on Feb. 22.

The inclusion of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy, generated immediate outrage among many observers. But the reaction from the Nigerian government was more muted than expected. While Eritrea’s foreign minister, for example, said the ban was “unacceptable,” his Nigerian counterpart merely said he was “disappointed.” Nigerian authorities may be calculating that a soft touch with the Trump administration will prove more effective in getting the travel ban lifted than a defiant display of disapproval. ...

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