Monday, July 03, 2006

My Green Passport

Anyone that works in the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector or understands it will know that there are always conferences every now and then and in different parts of the world.

I had expected that my joining a Non-Governmental Organisation will undoubtedly come with all the goodies of the sector, a major one being Globe Trotting. To be truthful, I really looked forward to all the globe trotting experience I could ever get.

True to my expectations, two months into my joining the organisation, we started preparations for about 15 people to attend a conference which was being coordinated by my organisation and luckily, I was one of them.

I was glad that my plan of attempting to travel abroad only through legitimate means was coming to reality. I actually obtained my international passport in 2004 and since then, I had never presented it in any embassy just because I detested the way Nigerians are treated in embassies particularly the U.K and U.S embassies.

Well, we can say my passport has been what we call a Virgin Passport for the past 2 years since I had no engagement in any other country aside from my home country, Nigeria. My former employers only sent me to Port Harcourt, Warri, Abuja and the streets of Lagos and I looked forward to setting my feet on the soil of another country.

Back to my joining an NGO and being selected to attend the conference. The conference was billed to take place in Enschede, Netherlands and that certainly meant we needed to visit the Netherlands embassy which is situated in Abuja.

We made bookings for appointments at the embassy and we spent money on travel insurance, visa application fee (which was approximately 7,000 Nigeria Naira / application). After all the interviews were conducted, different issues started creeping out, first, they told one secondary school teacher that was being sponsored by one of our funders and lived in Minna to bring his marriage certificate. What connection did that have with him wanting to attend a conference?

On the day we were told to check status of the application, they returned all the students’ passports which we later discovered had been stamped the same day they went for the interview and as we continued going to check status for the remaining applications, they returned more stamped and visaless passports.

When we went for the last but one batch of passports comprising of 3 applications, ……….two visas were granted and one refused. That one was mine.

They had deflowered my virgin passport by adulterating it. I was furious and upon all, they still wanted me to sign one paper or so, of course, I declined.

I once again had no choice but to ponder on Nigeria and Nigerians considering the way these embassies milk billions out of poor and powerless Nigerians and the only thing our government does is to ignore it as if it is the globally acceptable way to do things.

I recently read about the new Minister of Foreign Affairs’ claim to treat this important issue and I pray something concrete that will make us smile comes out of it.

Why must Nigerians experience all the humiliation and degrading treatments from these devious embassies? Why have the embassies become our ‘god’ and critical prayer points in the churches, mosques and other religious worship centres?

I will like to know what you think about this issue. Please drop a comment.

21 comments:

Bella Naija said...

Eyah..its really unfortunate how those useless embassies treat people in Nigeria....one day we shall be refusing them visas the same way....dont worry girl....i'm sure it will be sorted out sometime soo...

nigeria, what's new said...

I saw the hollywood movie "the day after tomorrow", the central premise of the film is that global warming could lead to the shutdown of the North Atlantic “heat pump” (a major ocean circulation pattern), causing extreme natural disasters. US nationals became refuges in Mexico. Could this be a reason to love your neighbour? Is that selfish? On the other hand you should understand the hell some of our people have put "the people" discribed through. Your question opens up a huge volume that would need everyone´s effort. Love all, serve all is all there is.

B. Akinsanmi (Titi's sis' said...

Hi Titi,
Men.... exactly my thoughts o! I know what you mean o. I have often thought about what we could do about such matters but men..it seems hopeless. like Bella naija said, may be one day we will be refusing them visa.

But having been here for sometime, it seems like that day will never come. Except of course, global warming occurs.

My heart tears for our nation...for real. Naija's top students go abroad, remain and contribute to foreign economy..brain drain and we leave our country to fallow. I wish I could blame them, but I find myself following exactly the same trend.

I am waiting for the dispensation of the black man, of black Africa.. if it will ever come.

nigeria, what's new said...

http://www.studiosankara.com/sunugaal.html

here is a no-passport eye opener!

Anonymous said...

Pele............
No comments!

My Thots said...

Thanks Buki, I'm glad you visited b=my blog and did nt just go unnoticed, you dropped a comment.

Nigeria what's new, what can I say....., you've always been there and looks like you'll always be .....How far with your book?

Anonymous...., at times like this, most time all you just want to do is be silent for a while....so, I understand your 'no comments!'

nigeria, what's new said...

"How far with your book?" There is still a wip on it. And the free web version will be available 1st.

Lanre Olamiti said...

Hey Titi,
Nice stuff! Can u really blame these embassies? I happen to have a first hand experience of the 'exploits' of Nigerians in some of these countries. Our nation's image is not only dented by the level of corruption back home but is a culmination of the former plus the strides of our citizenry in the shores of other countires. Without sounding selfish, I say "MORE POWER TO THESE EMBASSIES".

Last year, I visited the Nigerian Embassy here in the UK to get a visa for my trip home as it had become compulsory for Nigerians with foreign passports to secure a visa before leaving for Nigeria. I was stunned by the level of corruption right in there! Fast tracks by virtue of bribes, absolute poor customer service from staff, slack administration,... the list goes on my dear!

It's only sad that "when elephants fight, the grass suffers." People with genuine intentions would keep being robbed of what they deserve because of the Nigerian culture that can only be interpreted as: 'Quick fix to get rich' plus our eagerness to embrace everything even godliness as a substitute for HARDWORK; the only path to success.

My Thots said...

Hi Lanre,

Good to hear from you. What are you doing now? Studying or working or both.

Thanks for dropping by.

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Lanre Olamiti said...

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Posi Olatubosun said...

Sorry for the refusal of your visa. But we cannot really say the reason why you were refused. Please read the attached story published in the latest sunday guardian. It is pathetic as well!
http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/reuben-abati/a-nigerian-girl-and-her-edinburgh.html

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sulman farooq said...

I just having a heated conversation about living in Britain and having a Nigerian passport.Hence the title the curse of the Green Passport. Its worked out to be strangely hilarious

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