International relations and diplomacy, usually involve engagement and deployment of a realistic mix of “carrots and sticks.” Especially when the very powerful and influential countries seek to protect their interests.
Due to the decades of corrupt, ruinous and incompetent governance of the leadership of these “developing” countries, particularly in Africa, they have become dependent on their preferred destinations to travel abroad for individual but expensive lifestyles and basic healthcare needs.
One of those preferred destinations is the United States of America.
For routine checkups, these leaders trust the American and European-based medical doctors, it seems, much more than those based in Nigeria and most of the African countries. Medical and healthcare professionals from the same countries also practice across the United States as top-ranked leaders in the industry. But you need visas or other requisite immigration documents to travel into the U.S. Unlike into some of the African countries where the borders are not effectively and strictly managed or protected.
On April 26, 2021, the U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced his meeting, virtually, with the President of Nigeria, retired army General Muhammadu Buhari.
USAfricaonline.com reported Blinken’s highlight of the United States and Nigeria’s “shared goals of strengthening democratic governance, building lasting security, and promoting economic ties and diversification.”
I think, in realistic pursuit of the “shared goals of strengthening democratic governance” component,
the United States has reiterated its position that people involved in undermining the electoral process in Nigeria will face visa restrictions.
Consequently, Blinken has continued to follow-up the announcement with his statement released by the U.S Mission in Abuja on Wednesday January 25, 2023 restating that the U.S supports Nigeria’s democratic process and desire to uphold the rule of law. Here:
“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on specific individuals in Nigeria for undermining the democratic process in a recent Nigerian elections.”
Drawing from the laws of the United States, he noted that;
“Under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these individuals will be found ineligible for visas to the United States under a policy to restrict visas of those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Nigeria.
“Certain family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.Additional persons who undermine the democratic process in Nigeria—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Nigeria’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy."
He underlined the point that “The visa restrictions announced today are specific to certain individuals and are not directed at the Nigerian people or the Government of Nigeria. The decision to impose visa restrictions reflects the commitment of the United States to support Nigerian aspirations to combat corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law,” he added.
Let me note the fact that some of the children and relatives of those who make living and life very difficult in Nigeria are on different forms/types of U.S visas. Or other immigration facilities from other countries. This seems, again, like a reasonable use of “carrots and sticks.”
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, author of the forthcoming 2023 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity., is Founder of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN, ALJazeera, SKYnews, and served as an adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. Follow him on Twitter @Chido247