Nigeria is the U.S second largest African trading partner and the U.S is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, according to USTR and State Department briefs but a travel ban instituted by the Trump administration has been extended to Nigeria and is set to affect everyone from government to religious leaders.
The first casualty of the increased scrutiny has emerged as the founder of Faith Tabernacle in Ota, Ogun State and Living Faith Church Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners’ Chapel International, Bishop David Oyedepo has been denied a US Visa while Comedian Abovi Ugboma, popularly known as Bovi was lucky to get the visa.
According to Aubrey Hruby, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center who spoke to Tech Crunch about the Visa bans, she said;
“I’ve spoken to several people in the US government close to the matter who’ve indicated visa restrictions being discussed are also coming from concerns that Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria and within the broader context of the administration using visa rules as tools of foreign policy,”
“If this is the case, and they go forward with a ban, the administration could be overlooking the deep cultural and commercial ties that exist between the U.S. and Nigeria, and how much restricting travel could disrupt them,” she added.