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US Travel Advisory Here's why Abike Dabiri and Geoffrey Onyeama are fighting

President Buhari's appointees have exposed deep cracks within the administration and it's sorry to watch.

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Abike Dabiri-Erewa play

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

(citypeoplegroup)

Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama and Senior Special Assistant on Foreign, Diaspora Affairs to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, are currently locked in a supremacy battle.

It all began when Dabiri-Erewa issued a travel advisory to Nigerians who intend to travel to the United States.

Dabiri asked Nigerians who have no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S to postpone their travel plans until Donald Trump's policy on immigration becomes clearer.

In a statement that was sent to Pulse, Dabiri-Erewa said the warning became imperative due to series of reports of Nigerians being turned back at US aiports.

play Abiki Dabri and acting President Osinbajo

 

The presidential aide said her office has been inundated with stories of Nigerians being handed raw deals at US airports.

Dabiri-Erewa's advisory arrived on the heels of Trump's executive order which bars citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from gaining entrance into the US.

Nigeria isn't on the short-list of foreign countries who have been told that they aren't welcome in the US by Trump, but Dabiri-Erewa said citizens of her country are being targeted no less.

"In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with multiple entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to Nigeria", Dabiri-Erewa said.

She added that "in such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on their next available flight and their visas were cancelled".

ALSO READ: Nigerian government warns citizens to avoid non-essential travel to US

But Dabiri-Erewa's advisory has set her on a war path with Onyeama who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Onyeama practically overruled the presidential adviser on an aspect of Nigeria's foreign policy as it concerns the US.

The Minister said Nigerians who want to travel to the US can go ahead and do so as there was nothing to worry about.

Onyeama said: “On the issue of Nigerians being turned back from the US, this is not the case. If the Nigerian government is speaking on any external relations, you will hear it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the President.

play Onyeama at the 26th summit of heads of state

 

“I have reached out to the US Ambassador to Nigeria and the country’s high level officials who said nothing of such had happened. I can tell you to ignore the advice to reconsider travelling to the US because there is no basis for that,” he added.

A top ranking official in the Presidency has told Pulse that Dabiri-Erewa felt slighted and embarrassed by Onyeama's comments, underscoring the friction between both Buhari appointees.

"Dabiri-Erewa regarded Onyeama's comments as a public dressing down which was meant to undermine her role as a senior aide of the President", said the source.

Pulse was also told that Onyeama owes his current job to Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.

Kyari is a member of a cabal within the Presidency.

"The cabal doesn't mean the Buhari administration well and has been working hard to bring the administration down. This is another clear example. Dabiri-Erewa meant well, but Onyeama has now messed everything up", said the source.

"Onyeama is just angry that Abike gave an advisory because, left to the minister and the other members of the cabal, doing nothing would have been better than issuing an advisory in the face of poor treatment by US officials. The cabal is sabotaging this government", added the source.

Abba Kyari play CoS Abba Kyari (Sahara Reporters)

 

Pulse was also told that Dabiri-Erewa subscribes to the school of thought that the cabal which Onyeama now belongs to, is all out to sabotage the Buhari administration.

"This is a job Onyeama should have done. But because he didn't do it, he decided to throw Dabiri-Erewa under the bus", Pulse was told by another senior administration official.

Dabiri-Erewa was in low spirits throughout last night and was left devastated by Onyeama's position, other senior administration officials told Pulse.

Pulse was also e-mailed stories from Nigerians who had been turned back at US airports even though they all possessed valid entry documents.

ALSO READ: ‘Killing of Nigerians in SA is unacceptable,’ Presidential aide says

One of such complaints came from one Olaniyi Femi who wrote Dabiri-Erewa's office to detail his harrowing experience at the hands of US immigration officials.

Femi's complaint is reproduced below, unedited:

"My name is Olaniyi Femi, I travel to united state of America on 21 of February 2017, with 2 years valid multiple visa, when I got to port of entry of los Angeles.

"The immigration officer directed me to one BPD, he interrogated me and I answer him politely, when he have nothing to hold me he said I should come for biometric either I have any criminal offence, I told him that I'm not a criminal that he should go ahead, later he brought some documents that I should sign.

"I told him that I will need to read before I sign, he quickly wildrew the document and put me in a cold cell, from there he held me for four days, collected all my phone so that I will not get access to my family and later revoked and return me back to Nigeria. Honestly, this is unfair Nigeria need to do something".

play Foreign Affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama (Punch)

 

An aide of Dabiri-Erewa also told Pulse that there are similar stories to Femi's which the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs received, hence the travel advisory.

Another Nigerian, Francis Adekola, narrated his harrowing travel ordeal to Punch.

Adekola said he was detained for over 10 hours before he was placed on an aircraft and returned to Abuja via Johannesburg.

A group called the Nigerian Coalition for Quality Governance has accused the minister of "parading the corridors of the country's media establishments in his effort to deny and dismiss the effects of the executive order" issued by Trump.

The group noted that even though "Nigeria is not officially among the countries whose citizens have been banned from entering the US", there is enough evidence that "not a few Nigerians have been put on the next available planes from the US airports back to Nigeria despite their possession of all travelling documents including the US entry visa".

Foreign Affairs minister, Onyeama, wasn't immediately available for comments.

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