The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been asked to tell the United States (US) President, Donald Trump, that Nigeria will not tolerate the harassment of its citizens.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made this known in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement signed by the Executive Director of the group, Adetokunbo Mumuni, followed the disclosure by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that Nigerians with valid visas were being denied entry into the US.
According to Mrs. Dabiri -Erewa, the affected Nigerians were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas cancelled.
But SERAP asked the acting president to tell Mr. Trump, in clear terms Nigeria would not tolerate any harassment and unfair treatment of its citizens with valid multiple-entry visas at US airports.
“The Nigerian Government must stand up to Trump and defend Nigerians’ internationally recognised right to freedom of movement just as the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, did for his own citizens,” the statement reads.
“The Iraqi leader ensured that his country was taken off the obnoxious executive order list. Osinbajo must now show the leadership needed to defend the country’s citizens who are facing unfair treatment in the hands of US immigration officers
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) guarantees the liberty of movement and provides in Article 13 that, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.’ ‘Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.’
“The Declaration also guarantees the right of everyone including Nigerians to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the declaration can be fully realised.”
The group noted that Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of American President Franklin Roosevelt, chaired the UDHR drafting committee.
On the basis of the UDHR, the group said persons are entitled to move from one place to another and to establish themselves in a place of their choice.
It further noted that the enjoyment of the right must not be dependent on any purpose or reason for the person wanting to move or to stay in a place, adding that restrictions must be in conformity with international standards.
“The Nigerian authorities must ensure that Nigerians’ liberty of movement is protected from interference by the Trump government. The authorities should carefully study the revised executive order and take proactive measures to prevent any harassment and unfair treatment of Nigerians in the hands of US immigration officers,” the group said.