Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) – The Trump administration’s controversial visa and travel bans has now been extended to include more countries.
The ban, which is one of the US President’s signature policies, now includes six new countries, who have been blocked from obtaining certain types of visas. All immigrants from Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria will be banned from the US.
Tanzanian and Sudan citizens will no longer be able to apply for the “diversity visas,” known as the green card lottery, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Nationals of the six countries already in the US or those with a valid visa to come to the US will not be affected.
The ban has come as a shock to many Nigerians who balk at being included on a list of “pariah states,” such as Myanmar and Eritrea.
“You know what it means for Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan to be put in the same category? Eritrea is the “North Korea of Africa”, Myanmar is a pariah state & Kyrgyzstan is in the middle of nowhere. The US Government does not rate us, at all,” wrote, a Lagos-based IT and business consultant, on Twitter.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and the most populous country on the continent with 200 million people, and which boasts strong ties to the US.
The US has been a strong ally in Nigeria’s fight against terror group Boko Haram and cyber crime, among other causes. It is also Nigeria’s main trading partner and a close diplomatic ally since 1960.
Nigerian immigrants in the US are considered one of the most successful and educated immigrant groups in the country.
Desmond Okocha, from Lagos, told CNN: “Everybody should have freedom of movement, I don’t see any reason for doing that.”
However, one woman told CNN she thought the ban was justified and would encourage Nigerians to stay at home and build their country.
Caroline Eboh told CNN, “If they feel we Nigerians are flooding their country then we should stay in our country. I don’t know what we’re going there to do anyways. I don’t have any problem with it.”
Other Nigerians blame President Muhammad Buhari’s policies for lowering the country’s standing in the world.
The extended ban does not affect tourism, business and student travel but it could have an impact on US citizens who want to be reunited with family members living n Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
Nigeria’s government has reacted by issuing a statement saying they will work with the “US Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented,” President Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement released to CNN.
The previous travel ban has been called the “Muslim ban” by the US President’s critics but this new ban has been branded the “African ban,” as four of the countries are African and has prompted accusations of discrimination and racism.
Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat in the US Congress lashed out at the ban. He tweeted: “As a son of Eritrean refugees, let me be clear: The President’s travel ban on African countries contradicts our American values and the promise and refuge our country has offered to immigrants and refugees for centuries… It is wrong. And we must oppose it.”