Few things unite Nigeria’s middle classes like anxiety over international visa application processes—and none more so than for the United States.
Depending on social class and income, the visa can mean anything from facilitating a business trip or a summer holiday to being a chance to chase the American dream. But, as hundreds of thousands of Nigerians apply annually, rejection rates and a lack of clarity over what consular officers base their rejection on has resulted in a reality where the process has been mystified as a high-stakes game of chance.
The Trump administration’s policies clamping down on visa applications from Nigeria is stoking even more fear and triggering waves of apprehension-fueled rumors. Or as Trump himself would call it: fake news.
Just last month, the United States embassy in Nigeria was forced to deny a widespread rumor that it had placed a ban on issuing student visas to Nigerians. The rumor took off and seemed believable for many Nigerians especially given recent policies by the Trump administration.
After reportedly considering visa clampdown measures including issuing visas for shorter validity periods for countries whose nationals have high rates of overstaying visas (Nigerians were the highest ranked African country for US visa overstays in 2018), the US indefinitely suspended its interview waiver process for visa renewals for Nigerian applicants. The waiver process previously allowed holders of two-year visas, usually frequent travelers, to renew them by submitting their passports and supporting documents for review rather than going through in-person interviews for every application.
U.S. Mission Nigeria
#FakeNews Alert! Be advised, reports of Student Visa ban for Nigerians is false. If you have seen such manufactured item on Facebook and Twitter or received it via WhatsApp, please communicate that it is false.
The rumors have seeped through since Trump got into office: in the wake of the controversial Muslim ban, tales of Nigerian travelers being questioned at American points of entry also made the rounds. While some were genuine, like in the case of one of Nigeria’s most prominent software engineers, many others were likely oversold with Nigerians deliberately avoiding flights with stopovers in countries believed to be cross-hairs of Trump.
Regardless, the fear-fueled rumors and the administration’s policies are having an effect on potential travelers, says Ola Oni, an Abuja-based travel and visa consultant who’s worked in space for almost a decade. As the process becomes more stringent, Oni says anecdotal evidence from applicants who have been through the visa process recently suggests there are already higher levels of application denials. The net result is that more people, including some who have successfully obtained visas in the past, have become “jittery” about the prospect of interviews and, in some cases, prefer to change travel plans rather than risk a rejection. “The situation can be conceived as a reflection of the Trump administration’s policies,” he says. By itself, stopping the interview waiver process already “sends a message,” he adds.
But the allure of an American visa means that the embassies in Nigeria will still receive thousands of applicants. For his part, after being rejected last year while applying for a short-term visa to allow his young family go on holiday together for the first time, Ebenezer, a Lagos-based sports presenter, says he will apply again this year albeit halfheartedly.
“Trump’s policies have had an impact on me and will be at the back of my mind during the interview,” he says. “If we get rejected, I most probably won’t apply anymore until Trump leaves office.”
Since the Big brother season 4 show commenced, Nigerians have observed that Ella has been after Nigerian born London-based, Mike, who is the only married man in the BBNaija house.
Mavin boss, Don Jazzy has reacted to the this after observing Ella properly for crush over Mike.
He took to his twitter handle to say:
Hmmm, Ella does not want to hear that Mike is married oooo. She will play a lot of penalty shots before the game is over o. #BBNaija. This is how they steal somebody’s husband o. Mike my brother stay away I repeat cast and bind #BBNaija
DONALD Trump was filmed telling his own chief of staff to leave the Oval Office for coughing during an interview.
The US President was so frustrated at being interrupted by the coughing that he scolded Mick Mulvaney on camera.
Trump was in the middle of answering a question from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about his tax returns when he asked to do another take.
“I hope they get it, because it’s a fantastic financial statement,” Trump says, as coughing can be heard in the background.
Trump added: “And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer.
“I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that.”
Stephanopoulos then clarified: “Your chief of staff.”
“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,” Trump responded.
“You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy. Okay, do you want to do that a little differently.”
It’s unclear if Mulvaney left the room, but the president went back to his response.
He said “at some point” he’d like to have people see his financial statement.
Trump described the document as “phenomenal.”
When Stephanopoulos pointed out that it was up to Trump, whether he wanted to release the statement, the president retorted: “No … It’s up to lawyers.”
TRUMP ON LISTENING TO FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE
During the same highly-teased interview, Trump said he’d take information on his 2020 opponents from foreign governments and wouldn’t necessarily tell the FBI.
When Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether his re-election campaign would accept info from foreigners – such as China or Russia – or hand it over the FBI, Trump answered, “I think maybe you do both.”
“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump continued.
“If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ – oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”
Trump disputed the idea that if a foreign government provided information on a political opponent, it would be considered interference in our election process.
“It’s not an interference, they have information – I think I’d take it,” Trump said.
“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI – if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research, ‘oh let’s call the FBI.’
“The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it, they always have, and that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research.”
After his comments emerged, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Trump is giving Russia “the green light” to again interfere in a US presidential election.
He also claimed President Obama “must have known about” the FBI’s alleged efforts to ensure he wouldn’t win the presidency in 2016.
Trump also denied ordering White House Counsel Don McGhan to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.