Here’s a post we received from an individual who’d prefer to be anonymous (due to the embarrassing nature of the experience detailed below). Please read & let us know if you agree with the authors views…
When you meet someone for the first time and share your Nationality, chances are they’ve formed an opinion of you based on their knowledge of your stated country. Hence why should I say I’m Nigerian each time I meet someone? I don’t have the power to carry corruption, nepotism, witchcraft, wickedness and 419 all by myself.
When people ask me where I come from now, I tell them Ethiopia. I have chosen Ethiopia because it is the only country in Africa that resisted colonization, and of course, because of my faith. Before you quickly say I am denying Nigeria, please listen to my dehumanizing experience traveling with a green passport.
I’m a Sportsperson and I arrived the Middle East for the first time in the month of February 2013. I was experiencing knee pains prior to traveling, hence I came with about 19 sachets of Tramadol, just in case the knee proved stubborn. I also made sure to get a signed Doctors prescription.
I got stopped by security at the airport and the first thing they requested for was the Doctors prescription. Upon seeing it they collected my 3 pieces of luggage and searched every single item. Every single pair of my shoes was put through a scanning device, and my box was searched vigorously. I was told to stand erect and take my hands out of my pocket, while the intense search of my belongings continued. After searching all my clothes, bags, shoes etc. I was taken to a private room. In this room I was told to take off all my clothes. Now at this point I was completely naked and in full shock. This had never happened to me before. These men started looking through private parts of my body and touching sensitive areas. I had never been so humiliated in my life. Since they found nothing they asked me to leave. They said if I did not have the Doctors prescription, the next venue would have been the Police station.
Once I left the Airport I felt so sick, depressed and worried. Many thoughts ran through my mind.
Did this happen because of my green passport (Nigerian passport)? If I were British, American or European will this happen? Should I have refused and rebelled? What are my rights here? Can anything really be done and does this happen to other Nigerians or people from Africa? Are these men homosexuals? What is wrong with Tramadol? After all it’s allowed by WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) and many athletes use it.
Despite all these questions, the truth is evident. Nigerians are known for smuggling cocaine and heroine; we are known for 419 scams and identity theft.This is all part of our brand; this is how we are perceived by the world.
Now many ignorant Nigerians like to blame the Government, but who is the Government? Are they not Nigerian people? Are they not humans? Is it not Nigerians that get into Government?
The problem of Nigeria is not solely the Government, but also the people: Nigerians. The Nigerian people are responsible for their downfall. The problem stems from many little things like the family. Yes, we have leaders that don’t think, but leadership is not Aso Rock, it starts from the family, e.g. when a parent pays a teacher for exam questions. In addition, we Nigerians are very much into expensive and materialistic stuff, yet many can’t afford these things. Nigerians love oppressing themselves with more & more stuff, then go to Church on Sunday and pray to God for more money so that we can oppress more people. How hypocritical!
We Nigerians need to have a rethink; we need to change our strategy. Our people are wandering all over the earth looking for hope. They are in China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and all over Europe. I have even heard of some Nigerians who arrived Europe and immediately threw their passport into the Sea. What kind of curse is this?
Many Nigerians all over the world are suffering due to the poor image the world has of us/the actions of a few rotten eggs. My humiliating experience is just one of many; some have even been beheaded. To move forward and overcome, we need to be aware and know our history. We must never depend on the West. We must understand that the solution to Africa’s problems is in Africa (Nigeria inclusive).
Please let us all wake up and remember, “The people are the Government”. Each and every one of us, and our actions wherever we are, reflects on the country and will have an impact on how the rest of the world views and treats us.
After my experience, I’d gladly swap my Nigerian passport for one from any of the following African countries; Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Angola and Zimbabwe.