There is this derisive impression about Nigerian passport holders in most of the International Airports in different parts of the world, especially in Indonesia. The Immigration officers molest, exploit and forcibly take huge amount of bribes from Nigerians and threaten deportation if one refuses to give in. This happens even when one has not committed any offence. They show no respect to one’s Status so far you are carrying Nigerian passport.
On the 17th June 2019, I was once again greeted with harassment by Indonesian Immigration officers. The ugly incidence spurred me to take up a fight against their intimidation of Nigerians. I know that what they are doing is a corrupt practice and we are their major victims. No matter how our country is, we do not deserve such discriminatory extortion.
So, on that day, I arrived Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta, Indonesia, in an Emirates Airline from Dubai (EK0356). On disembarking from the Aircraft, I was walking to the queue when an immigration officer halted me. He asked for my passport. As he saw a Nigerian passport, he took me to their office and handed my passport over to his colleague. I greeted the officer sitting down in the office. He ignored me. Three times I greeted so he could say what the problem was but he remained silent and kept deaf ears. So I stood waiting for him to break his silence. I was standing, waiting for what I do not know, for 30 minutes before he muttered any word. Finally, he asked of my hotel reservation, return ticket and my Visa receipt, which I presented all to him.
The next question was, “do you want to go into the country?”
I said “yes”.
He replied, “Calculate the fare of a one-way ticket from Jakarta to Abuja and give it to me to permit you entry”.
I pretended as if I didn’t understand what he was saying. The next thing he did was to google the cost of a one-way ticket with his mobile phone and showed it to me that it was $1,200usd (N432,000). I kept silent, trying to make a sense out of his embarrassing demand. But he didn’t stop there. He threatened to deport me by making copies of my travel documents.
At this point, I remembered my sad experience on the 9th October 2018 on this same Airport for refusing to bribe an Immigration officer with $200usd which nearly lead to my deportation. On that fateful day, they had already handed me over to the security and airline staff, reconfirmed my return ticket, checked in my luggage for eventual deportation. Had it not been I was able to place a call to my visa sponsor who intervened immediately by calling the airport Immigration boss and pleaded on my behalf, I would have been deported for no reason and would have lost huge sum and time. To the glory of God, the deportation was reversed. Meanwhile, this is a country I have been travelling to for 12 years without any infraction of their laws in whatever way. I never overstayed my visit, never broke any law, never even accused of any offence. My only offence was carrying Nigerian passport.
With that bad experience, which I was not ready to have a repeat of, I decided to be soft to this one demanding I should bribe him with $1,200usd. He later came down to $500 (N180,000) after a prolonged pleading. I immediately gave him the money but copied his name and saved it in my phone.
On the 21st June 2019, I prepared petitions which I addressed to the following parastatals:
When Nigerian government treat or called her citizenry piece of rag with her actions, never expect anything more from the outside world cause it’s how you’ve decided to address yourself inward you’ll be addressed outside the shore of the land, no two ways about it. A Country where corruption is the regular norms in the land, but decided to follow the right path (obey the constitution) they makes it seems you’re psychologically and socially sick in the brain. It’s high time we look in word and do the right thing for the sake of our unborn generations cause as they say, “charity begins with you and me”…