Recently, six Nigerians were refused entry into Egypt by immigration officials and were forced to return via the Ethiopian Airline that airlifted them.
According to the account of one of the Nigerians, Sekinat Abiola, she said she was granted a valid 3-month-visa at the Egyptian Embassy in Lagos, but intended to stay for two weeks since her business would only last that long.
“I was asked what I was here for and I said business, then the officer asked for my BTA (Basic Travel Allowance), which was $3000, and I showed him,” she said. “Then he looked at my visa and said ‘Lagos Nigeria, No, No, No’, and asked me to go to the left were I met other Nigerians who were told the same thing. We left Nigeria on Sunday and were kept in a room till today (Tuesday) without food, water, or bed to sleep. This is the second time they are doing this.”
Another member of the team, who gave his name as Mr F. A. Babatunde, said: “They told me to go back and get another visa. I asked if the one I had now was fake because I got it from their embassy at Abuja. The official did not answer. All these countries are doing this because of the money they get from visas. If a senator was not in that South African plane, do you think Nigeria would have reacted? The Nigerian embassy in Egypt knows about this entire thing but they will not do anything, since we are ordinary Nigerians. My visa was signed and stamped by the consul.”
It is not clear how many Nigerians are being refused entry into other foreign countries daily even with their valid travel documents, but surely it happens and the citizens feel sorely discriminated upon.
Nigerians are still licking their wounds caused by the deportation of 125 Nigerians aboard South African Airways and Arik Air flights in March this year. The travelers were refused entry into South Africa for alleged failure to provide genuine yellow fever vaccination documentation.
“We left Nigeria on Sunday and were kept in a room till today (Tuesday) without food, water, or bed to sleep.” This inhumane treatment from immigration officials in yet another African country is a bitter pill to swallow.
What do you think about the deportation of Nigerians from Egypt? Have you ever had such an experience or do you know anyone who has? What could be the reasons behind refusing Nigerians entry into foreign countries despite their possession of valid traveling documents?
Also, what can the Nigerian government do to prevent such treatment of its citizens abroad?
Please share your thoughts.
News Source: Daily Times