Nigeria Signs Development Assistance Deal With America
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday signed the $2.1 billion Development Objectives Assistance Agreement (DOAG) with Africa’s most populous country.
The agreement amongst others was signed at a meeting in the presidential villa with hopes of broadening ties as persistent unrest and human rights concerns prompt calls to revamp the US relationship with Nigeria.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama Blinken said the US would work closely with Nigeria to provide support in the areas of coronavirus vaccines, as well as military affairs and trade.
He also said the Nigerian government was working to create and foster greater market access with the US to ease exports of Nigerian agricultural products to the US market.
During the joint press conference, the Federal Government also asked that the United States of America make visa processing easier for Nigerian travellers.
The U.S. government during the Trump administration implemented a series of policies that have unfavourably affected Nigerians, one of which is the indefinite suspension of the drop box mechanism.
The suspension meant Nigerians who wanted visa renewals had to make a physical visit to a consulate, eliminating an interview waiver privilege they used to enjoy.
The U.S. had said when it suspended the dropbox mechanism in 2019 that it was to promote legitimate travel.
“We hope that the Secretary would also help to ease the visa challenges that Nigerians wishing to enter the U.S. have,” Onyeama said.