The Nigerian government has been urged to let the American President, Donald Trump understand that Nigeria will not tolerate the disrespectful and unfair treatment of its citizens at US airports.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, made this known in a statement on Tuesday, urging Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to rise up in defence of Nigerians who were being deported from the US despite having valid travel documents.
Recall that the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa had on Monday advised Nigerians to refrain from travelling to the US except on very essential matters until the country’s immigration policies are clarified.
Dabiri said that some Nigerians who had valid US visas were sent back on arrival in the US and their visas cancelled.
SERAP’s executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, in his statement said that “the Nigerian government must stand up to Trump and defend Nigerians’ internationally recognized right to freedom of movement.”
Mumuni cited an instance with Iraq’s removal from the new immigration policy signed by President Trump, claiming that it was the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who ensured “that his country was taken off the obnoxious executive order list.”
“Osinbajo must now show the leadership needed to defend the country’s citizens who are facing unfair treatment in the hands of US immigration officers,” Mumuni stated.
The SERAP boss also cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UDHR, which guarantees the right to legitimately travel from one country to another.
The statement read: “On the basis of the UDHR, persons are entitled to move from one place to another and to establish themselves in a place of their choice.
“The enjoyment of this right must not be made dependent on any particular purpose or reason for the person wanting to move or to stay in a place. Any restrictions must be in conformity with international standards.
“The Nigerian authorities must ensure that Nigerians’ liberty of movement is protected from interference by the Trump government.
“The authorities should carefully study the revised executive order and take proactive measures to prevent any harassment and unfair treatment of Nigerians in the hands of US immigration officers.”