Posted on February 14, 2020

Nigeria May Be Part of Trump’s Travel Ban, But Nigerians Tend to Trust Trump

All Things Considered, NPR, February 11, 2020



AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Immigrants from Africa’s most populous country will be blocked from coming to the U.S. beginning later this month. The Trump administration is denying immigrant visas to Nigerians as part of an expanded travel ban. {snip} But one writer in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja says the forthcoming ban hasn’t impacted President Trump’s popularity there.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is here to talk more about it. {snip}


CORNISH: Now, you’ve been writing in a way that makes it sound like the writing has been on the wall for this travel ban – right? – that acquiring a U.S. visa had become more difficult. {snip}

NWAUBANI: Well, it’s never been easy, and I just haven’t been under any illusion about that. But it’s got a lot more difficult in the past year. People who’ve been traveling to the United States for decades have been refused visas with no explanation. So that has been in the news anyway. But the travel ban is different because it’s targeting people who have families there and want to go and join their families, husbands, wives, spouses, that sort of thing.


CORNISH: You say Nigerians are unfazed by comments or policies that American critics might consider racist from the president. How do people hear it differently?

NWAUBANI: Well, the point to note is that the data the Pew Research Center has pulled year after year – and it’s been consistent – Nigerians love Trump. His approval ratings here are high. It’s been like that throughout his presidency. And the most recent polls in January show that almost 6 out of 10 Nigerians approve of what he’s doing and believe he’ll do the right thing. So that is it. Nigerians like Trump.

Usually, when he makes the comments that people in the U.S. regard as racist or whatever, in this part of the world, people tend to agree with him because we think, well, we know these things he’s saying are things that everybody else is thinking. We’re not under any illusion that any country in the world wants to welcome African immigrants with wide-open arms. No Nigerian I know of is under that illusion. No European country is eager to welcome African immigrants. They’re putting policies in place. The data is there. All the EU countries are trying to keep immigrants out. So President Trump is saying the things we know everybody is thinking.