It is always very sad to see the way we treat ourselves in Africa, especially when traveling across the continent. Within your regional zone, there might be some level of courtesy at the immigration desk but not when you travel through other regions. This is Africa, my Africa where we all almost look alike yet we treat our fellow African like aliens. I agree there are bad eggs among us who indeed traffic in drugs and the like. This is still not an excuse for the discrimination. It is easier to accept being discriminated against in Europe and America, it is unacceptable to face the same from my fellow African. We have so much in common, our culture and political system appear very related, and a “white man” often struggles to tell which country of Africa a black African man comes from. In Ethiopia, I saw hell!
IN ETHIOPIA, I SAW HELL!
Having traveled on a 12- hour non-stop trip to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the immigration official discriminatingly requested some of us to step aside for further searching. This was already 10 pm and everyone was only concerned to get cleared and moved to the hotel to rest before continuing the journey the following day. It is fine if this process is based on guidelines and courtesy. The official dispersed others and only five men were left for this special search. Is this a coincidence? The five passports in the hand of the immigration officer were all Nigeria green passports. Yes, we are all Nigerians, coming on the same flight transiting to our homeland. Why this discrimination? We queried the officer but no response. We were wheeled away into an unknown hospital in the city for the body scanning process. What a stressful and inhuman treatment we received in Ethiopia.
THE PRIDE AND THE SHAME OF BEING A NIGERIAN
Many in the diaspora are indeed proud of being a Nigerian but sometimes, holding a Nigeria green passport attracts unfair treatment from immigration officers. Our reputation and the image of Nigeria in the commonwealth of nations is disturbing, but we are still not ashamed of showing our identity as a proud Nigeria. Even in Africa, Nigerians are treated like criminals. Africa, my Africa!
My personal experience traveling across the continent shows a high disrespect to once esteemed the giant of Africa. At about 1 am, the Ethiopian immigration officers apologetically took us to our various hotels. One of the officers made a shocking statement, we released the Ghanaians and the Togolese because they are not into drug-trafficking like many Nigerians”.
A RESET BUTTONS
As a nation, Nigeria needs a reset button. The reputation of a nation calls Nigeria is currently almost in the mud because of the report of many criminal activities of some Nigerians. The creator needs to reformat our memory, remove the brain tumor of corruption, and disable the virus that pushes many Nigerians, including our leaders into criminal activities. Our nation is blessed, and we have all the resources to demonstrate we are a people to be reconned with on the global stage. God must help this nation and we must support God to help us build our homeland.
“Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leader’s right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign”
Joshua Adeyemi (EMBA27)