29th August, 2011
This news from Germany is really disturbing. Why is it that our leaders make us laughing objects before the international community and they will turn around to accuse us the poor and voiceless masses?
This accusation from â€œThe Voice Baden WÃ¼rttembergâ€ in Germany that most Nigerian refugees are deported without proper identification or procedure is a severe one especially the indictment that the Nigerian Embassy officials have been taking â‚¬500 to facilitate the deportation of a Nigerian refugee. According to â€œThe Voice Baden WÃ¼rttembergâ€ for the lucrative deportation business to flourish the Nigerian officials can identify their victims in their wisdom with special reference to their facial marks or looks that could be attributed to Nigerians.
Furthermore, the Embassyâ€™s machine making money (the refugees) could as well be identified based on their languages or accents according to this known source.
When did language speaking or facial marks etc. become a standard yardstick of knowing where one comes from? If the same Nigerians go to the embassy for help as Nigerians without proper identity like passport, driverâ€™s license or birth certificate, etc. will the embassy recognise them as Nigerians?
If the answer is no, why then issue documents to deport people to Nigeria even when the host authorities have not been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are Nigerians? Who told you that those people that may have claimed to be Nigerians or the almighty embassy officers have identified as Nigerians may not come from other African countries?
Even when somebody identifies himself or herself under this circumstance as a Nigerian or speaks any of the Nigerian languages it still does not make that person a Nigerian without any document to back it up. Can the Nigerian government take anybody from Western Europe with white skin to the German Embassy in Nigeria without proper identification and they treat that person as a German and give the Nigerian authorities the needed signatory to deport the person to Germany? No European country will accept such uncivilised way of doing things.
But why is my country doing it? And painfully it is not that they do not know that it is wrong. Why do Nigerian officials in Germany or Austria go to interview asylum seekers outside the official buildings of the embassies?
According to a fellow comrade Mr Rex Osa who is a coordinator of â€œThe Voice Baden WÃ¼rttembergâ€ (Germany) â€œFor each candidate interviewed the Nigerian embassy gets â‚¬250 and another â‚¬250 for issued travelling certificate.â€
So, it means that the deportation of Nigerians now has become another money making business? Could this be one of the reasons Nigerian refugees are molested, abused and most times killed in foreign lands without the Federal Government of Nigeria through their ambassadors wanting a redress as they ought to?
I hope that the monies already collected through this process were properly documented particularly the monies collected from those the embassy did not issue travel documents. Because the identification of a problem is the first step towards solving it, as a matter of urgency, I appeal to the Nigerian government to look into this extortion of â‚¬500 from each deportee and abolish it if it is official because it has engendered many fake interviews and deportations. Nigeria is supposed to be too big and greatly sophisticated for this kind of stories concerning her. As a matter of fact, our dignity should be considered before any action is taken.
The new Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru recently spoke well about how he will handle the welfare of Nigerians in foreign countries. Consequently, Minister Sir, your attention has been drawn to this uncivilised behaviour of the Nigerian Embassy in Germany as reported by â€œThe Voice Baden WÃ¼rttembergâ€. Please investigate the allegation and also save the people from the calamity that is about to happen to them now. According to the source from Germany, the Nigerian Embassy will be doing another round of identification of Nigerians in Karlsruhe with the aim of issuing their deportation papers and I am scared that the same exercise will be extended to Austria sooner than later as usual.
Nigeria is the only government that collects this kind of money to facilitate the pains of her citizens amongst the whole countries of the world. What a shame! And African ambassadors are the only ambassadors that authorise or go secretly outside the official buildings of their embassies with the primary aim of supervising the humiliation and deportation of their citizens to their countries. No American or European country would do that. Do you blame Nigerian ambassadors or their African counterparts? Nigerian or African people are poor people that must obey their neocolonial masters and must follow them without questioning or else what is happening to Mugabe in Zimbabwe will happen to them, or else what happened to Ambassador Jerry Ugokwe will happen to them.
Jerry Ugokwe was the Ambassador to Austria who stood firmly on the side of the people, but the power that be in Abuja had to recall him for this patriotic attitude of standing for the masses and on the truth. He was the Ambassador that never signed deportation papers without knowing why because each file that was brought to him was thoroughly examined and he asked many questions that had to be answered before he could sign, and of course the authorities involved were never ready for such change. Under the then Foreign Affairs Minister Ojo Maduekwe, three wise men were sent from Nigeria to Austria to sign the deportation of about two thousand Nigerians which Jerry Ugokwe never signed because there was no justification for him to do that. This can only happen in a country like Nigeria. Ugokwe, wherever you are God will continue to bless you. You shall never lack!
I hope that this era of putting Nigerian masses in sorrow and agony by our ambassadors in foreign countries just to satisfy Aso Rock is over because President Goodluck Jonathan is not a desperate president. Therefore, I pray that our Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru will have mercy on us the poor and heed the cry of these Nigerians or some people from other African countries that may be identified as Nigerians in Germany and intervene urgently in this matter. Furthermore, the idea of collecting â‚¬500 or â‚¬250 as the case may be and conducting any official work outside the building of Nigerian embassies under any guise should stop with immediate effect.
Please for details on this topic contact: The Voice Baden WÃ¼rttemberg: http://www.thevoiceforum.org/node/2207: Tel.: +4917627873832
â€¢Uzoma writes from Vienna, Austria [email protected] +436604659620 sms only