Trump can’t alter Nigeria-US relations – experts

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The emergence of real estate mogul Donald Trump as the President-elect of the United States will not alter the country’s relations with Nigeria, experts have said.

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Trump shocked the world when he was elected the 45th President of the U.S. on November 11 in a stunning culmination of a populist and polarising campaign that took never-ending aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American democracy.

Except that a Trump presidency could mean a crackdown on “illegal” Nigerian immigrants in the U.S., experts said there was no way Trump would alter diplomatic relations between the two countries.

A former Nigerian Ambassador to Greece, Prof. Olu Agbi, who said he didn’t see Trump as a “revolutionary” leader, but as a “conservative” one, said it would be difficult for the U.S. President-elect to alter any diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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He said, “I know Trump is erratic, but I don’t see him creating any friction between the U.S. and Nigeria. Diplomacy is very difficult for an individual to just change overnight. He is not a revolutionary person.

“The Nigeria-U.S. relations has been stable for quite sometime. Our trade relationship is good and we have trade deficit. Efforts by the present government to export more goods will result to us having low trade deficit. I don’t see Trump altering our relations.”

Also, a former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Wilberforce Juta, said Trump’s victory wouldn’t change the U.S. relationship with Nigeria since, according to him, the relationship between the countries had always been in terms of shared democratic values and trade.

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He added, “He’s against refugees and illegal immigrants and he had said if migrants want to come into the US, they have to come in legally. Even though he promised to build a wall between America and Mexico and others, it may not be possible to do something like that, but I know he’s going to tighten immigration laws.

“He has yet to reveal his policies, but he’s realising now that campaign is one thing and governance is another thing and that is why his tone during campaign is already changing since he won the election.”

An associate professor of International Law at the University of Lagos, Morakinyo Ayoade, said there might be no “major” change in the relationship between Nigeria and the US under Trump, noting that whatever changes he plans to make to the existing laws and policies must pass through the US congress.

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He added, “He (Trump) could have said what he liked during campaigns, but the truth is, the immigrants who are in the US legally cannot be touched. And every government is allowed to eject illegal immigrants forthwith and he has the right to do so, which would be at a cost to the US government.”

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