Monday, 24 April 2017

Ordeals in Nairobi - Part 2

In Detention.
The detention facility had beds, a toilet (clean toilet actually) and was well illuminated. Right inside there were three other young men. I will avoid using their real names, as they all will not want to be known. There was a Chinese, a Pakistani and a Somali. While the Nigerian guy (let me call him Friday - because I don't want to use his real names or reveal his tribe) was busy ranting and shouting, I was calm and was also trying to calm him. I was saying to myself, it looks am going to have a good time here. There and then, I went round, introduced myself to the inmates and demanded to know their names and what their crimes brought them there. The Chinese had a problem with some immigration officials in Kenya. He has lived in Kenya for a couple of years. The long and short of his story was that because he could not pay a particular amount requested by the Kenyan immigration officials, they had detain him there. I did not really bother to know details of what it was he did as I was detained illegally also, meaning anyone else can be. The other two had fake Kenyan visas, which was not their fault(but I still blame them). They used an agent who got them the fake thing. For this reason, I always advice people to go for their visas themselves. Having someone you do not know do your visa processing for you is like a time bomb which will explode at the point of entry into any country you intend visiting. We sat, talked, laughed and made fun of everything. A few minutes later, a friendly guy whom I had met outside some minutes before was brought inside to join us. He was later going to become a friend but he still does not want people to know he was detained, so I will not mention his name or nationality – he is from French speaking West Africa but lives in Europe and I will call him Fayeed.
After the initial chat with fellow inmates, I realised I had no internet and there was no way to communicate with the external world. It was just getting very seriously scared but outwardly, I was putting a make up of smiles, if not for anything, to encourage the other Nigerian guy with us. The Pakistani enjoyed his internet and he was just telling anyone who cared to listen to him that his internet is almost finished and that he can only share with someone who buys airtime/units to recharge his phone. With the attitude he exhibited, I marked him out as someone I will never make friends with (and I did not even after I left Kenya). 

We had a very nice and engaging conversations. We talked about corruption in Africa, xenophobia and all sorts of evil carried out on Africans by Africans against Africans. I could communicate with each and everyone except  the Somali who spoke only Arabic. Fayeed however was the only person in the room who was able to communicate with him because he speaks Arabic. To him the Somali, he seemed not to be worried about his detention. He seemed to be content with the two meals they are provided with on a daily basis. Some of us reasoned and believed that the Kenyans were doing him a favour there keeping him and feeding him. I can't even recall how he was able to communicate to me to give him my telephone charger to charge his phone.

video Something around 15:00 hrs in the afternoon, one of the immigration officials came in to serve the older inmates food. It was a well packaged rice and stew with meat. The portion was so large that I was really impressed they could give those to people in detention. It was however only three of those that was made available for the three inmates. They promised to bring us something eventually did not as they later said that the people who did the cooking only planned for three people. So we had to wait for the dinner which they normally serve around 23:00 hrs. We silently watched these guys eat their food and I silently complained to myself about their poor cultural up-bringing in their different countries. These boys confirmed to us that there will be no food here till 11 pm and yet they are not even willing to share theirs or even do the ceremonial 'come and eat'.

Friday (the Nigerian) was an extrovert. He was just screaming, shouting and complaining about the treatment meted out to us by the Kenyan authorities. At one point, he started blaming me for asking him to cool down when we were being asked to enter into the detention facility. I simply pretended I was not hear him. He was ranting and telling anyone who cared to hear that he is a king in his country and deals with white people. That his gold chain on his neck is worth more than $5,000 dollars and that his iPhone 7 cost ed more than $3000. He went round to show those who cared pictures of him and the white people...and all sorts of boastful things he was saying. When he cooled down, he started soliloquising that it was just that he wanted to apply for an American visa...was the only reason he wanted to get a Kenyan visa, so that he can demonstrate to the Americans he has traveled elsewhere and returned back home, otherwise, he does not want anything to do with Kenya. In my mind, I was laughing at him because I have seen people with visas to other countries who were denied visa to the US. It was then, in order not to listen to his trash I asked Fayeed his nationality and then I found out he spoke French....I had earlier noticed he struggled to speak English. I was happy because at least, if there was nothing to do,  I could gossip and express my dissatisfaction of the nagging and boastful attitude of Friday (The other Nigerian). Several other people were brought into the detention facility who called their relatives/Kenyans they know to come to their rescue. They were eventually taken out and were given visas.

Tu Parles Francais?

Fayeed was very happy to know I understood French also and it was a good time to talk about more important things. He looked into my face and asked me to tell him the truth about who I actually was and what I was in Kenya to do. At that point, it dawned on me that even some of the people I was with probably did not believe me. I took a deep breath a told him I am a tourist like I said I was. He told me he came to visit a friend and that he was detained because he would not bribe their officials. They wanted a bribe because of his old visa was to expire a day before he leaves back to Brussels where he lives. We spent most of the time discussing Friday's pride and unguarded utterances. We also talked about a couple of things we could do to get it into Kenya and so on. It was when we were discussing all these that a Kenyan official came into the facility and called out Friday to follow him with his luggage. He stepped out in arrogance and left us without even a goodbye and also forgetting his camera that he used to take shots of the facility, which he said he will give to his lawyer to prosecute the Kenyan government for abusing his rights. His departure made Fayeed and myself feel best like we have just been beaten 1 - 0 in a game. Our feelings of failure was heightened when another official who we thought came for us came back to ask for Friday's camera.

After an hour or so of Friday's absence, he was returned back to us. We felt good initially that at least, we have not been sidelined that much. His return added more salt to the injury as he came to tell us that they have successfully booked his return flight the next morning and that he was convinced that they were neither going to release Fayeed nor myself anytime soon as it was only his flight that was rescheduled for the next day. That was the first time I really felt irritated in there. Fayeed simply told me 'Ca va aller' which means everything will be well. It was then I decided it was time to contact someone to help. I spoke to the Chinese guy who then shared his internet data with me to send emails to my employers to let them know I was detained in Kenya for no good cause. It was also time to send a message to my mum to tell her I was ok as I always do each time I traveled. It was also then I thought of Nnamdi Kanu who has been in detention for almost two years and been deprived of his family - "Nna nwoke a sikwara ike oooo" (Mehn, this guy is strong, referring to Nnamdi Kanu) I said to myself.  As if Friday knew Fayeed and myself had been making jest of him, he taunted us more by saying things that made it look like we will not be leaving the facility soon. The Chinese guy also corroborated his story telling us the Kenyans will tell you something and will mean the otherwise. I told Fayeed in French that he should watch, that something tells me things will turn around and this guy (Friday) will eventually get to be dropped when they will come for us.

A Good Man From Nazareth

At around 23:00 hrs, an official from the Kenyans came with our dinner and told us that three of us who were detained that day should get ready to leave the next morning by 5 am in the morning. Well, we were really happy for the food and the excitement on the Fayeed's face was just amazing - not for the fact we were told we will be leaving the next day, but because we were just served food. We were very hungry. Friday however rejected the food. We joked in French that he probably must have swallowed some substance (drugs which probably he has come to sell in Kenya) and did not want to eat so as not to excrete it.

There was however something human about the last immigration official who came to serve us food. He was very kind and wanted to hear us talk, a quality those in the day shift never had. He told me specifically that my problem was because so many Nigerians come in to Kenya and fail to leave. He advised me to make sure I have a contact in Kenya the next time I come. I also advised my 'large mouthed' friend Friday to ask the same officer to see the possibility of them giving him a visa, since according to him, he will need it for the application of his US visa.

After all these, we slept and as early as 4 am, Friday was awake and dressed. He was giving us looks suggesting 'you guys should have a nice stay'. There and then, the official came and called out the three of us! Hmmm, I was like, its now 1 - 1. Our team just scored! Fayeed and myself parked our stuffs in a hurry and were ready in less than a minute. Never cared to brush our teeth or change something else! Just leave the place before they change their mind. It was like freedom at last.

The Kenyan official took us to the airlines to confirm our bookings. It was at that point that Friday discovered that the immigration officials did not get his luggage from the previous day as they promised and he was now told he has to wait in Kenya to pick it up before travelling back to Nigeria or forget it. It was at that point I told Fayeed that I said it... We will leave this guy here and go back while he remains here. Friday could not stand the thought of staying back... I could not hold laughter as it was now 2 - 1 in our favour. While they were trying to figure out a solution, Fayeed and myself were busy looking for the best place in the airport to take nice selfies at least to remember the experience. We safely got back to our destinations safely the next day when we chatted on WhatsApp again. Did not even bother to look back to find Friday (An action I later regretted).


At 5 am on Monday morning, we were boarded and headed to Entebbe, Uganda before going to Kigali where where we will change plane to Cotonou. My joy was revived when the pilot mention we were headed to Entebbe because the Entebbe Airport was the main place I wanted to visit in Uganda. I wanted to see the airport and the imagine how the Israeli commandos raided the airport in 1976 when the Air France with majority Israeli nationals was hijacked. We arrived there safely. I took a few shots but discovered MTN adverts all over the airport.

We left straight to Kigali after a 30 minutes stopover. From Kigali, I tried to make sure I enjoyed every bit of going home. I made sure I ordered as much as I wanted to eat from the air hosts and hostesses. I kept thinking of the whole experience and what could have happened if they allowed me in. I was a bit happy that at least, I did not spend any of the cash I came with, but at the same time, the ticket I bought for the trip was wasted. Immediately we arrived Cotonou, I had already made up my mind to embark on another journey. I was considering Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana or Niger Republic and Burkina. After it dawned on me I have never been to Niger for the first time, I felt strongly convinced I should visit there and I continued the next day.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

IPOB Press Statement 20/04/2017


We have taken ample time to dwell on the interview granted by Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and we have most sufficiently subjected the said interview to the forensic analysis of sapient extrapolation. Our aim is not to ridicule but rather to illuminate the darkest recesses of the unattainable ambitions of the core North in relation to Biafra. Let it be said unequivocally that Yakassai's statements are inordinately over-ambitious. The points he raised cancelled out each other, so we see it as being ill-thought out, divergent, and outrightly riotous.

We members of IPOB Worldwide under the leadership and supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu shall in this rebuttal, endeavour to subject Yakassai's submissions to the utmost intellectual scrutiny, with a view to systematically dismantling his misguided utterances he visited upon unfortunate Nigerians not knowledgeable enough to appreciate the contradictions inherent in his postulates.  
We find it a convenient starting point to note that in Biafraland people of Yakassai’s age, in times gone by, are accorded great respect for their characteristic wisdom which comes with age. This elevates such elderly individuals to the rare altitude of ‘sages’. The sapient judgment and effulgent wisdom usually radiated by people of Yakassai’s age command immeasurable respect from all and sundry in the by-gone era of truth and wisdom. Unfortunately this is no longer the case these days as our elders no longer speak the truth or are too terrified to do so for fear of upsetting their paymasters. What we have now are old men without honour nor conscience. Elderly men who shouldn't be afraid to speak the truth are now afraid to stand up to speak the truth and damn the consequences.

Most unfortunately, the deeply regrettable poverty of thought encapsulated in Yakassai’s Saturday interview in the Sun newspaper confirmed our long held suspicion that, even in the evening of his life, that rare class of ‘sages’ to which he ought to belong, has eluded him. Such a life-time misfortune is his own cross to bear, it cannot detain us here.

Sufficient to note that we shall not allow ourselves to be drawn into the fray of rants with which Yakassai corrupted the interview he granted. Such use of avoidable gutter language like his reference to 'irritants', have most shamefully grounded and graded him among the street urchins, scallywags and rapscallions of the North, despite his age.

We earlier observed that the entire landscape of his interview was riddled with self-contradictions. We now shall proceed to deploy our fine tooth comb in sifting out the chaff from the grain.

In one breath, the 'Elder Statesman' as they love to be called, made so many affirmations about the undeniable spirit of excellence resident in this Biafra nation and spoke glowingly of the Igbo tribe. Hear him; "The Igbo are the most hardworking people, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa. It is that hard work that made the Igbo, for example, when it comes to commuter transportation in Nigeria, everybody has surrendered to the Igbo, so also in the areas of building materials, electrical and electronics, vehicle spare parts, pharmaceuticals, stationery, etc… In the next 100 years, the Igbo through their hard work would be a dominating force not only in the West Africa but in Africa."

Yakassai bemoaned the absence of good leadership as being responsible for the terrible state of the Nigerian economy, the general disgraceful and retrogressive state of affairs prevalent in Nigeria today. In these self-indicting words; "....with good leadership – leadership with vision and plan, and one day God will give us such leadership. It is leadership that makes India what it is today, likewise China. It was leadership that made Nigeria what it was before."
Having first laudably admitted that the economy of the Biafran nation is undeniably resilient and one that has the plenitude and latitude of capacity to determine the future of the entire Africa in the next 100 years, this Northern "Elder Statesman" even took the notch higher by admitting massive and corrosive failure of leadership by the Northern dominated apparatus of governance in Nigerian. He finally iced the cake for the Biafran Nation with his loud affirmation of the existence of the right to self-determination by retorting that "nobody is saying that the right is not enshrined". Having come this far, the only inescapable inference is the concurrence of the "Elder Statesman" with the inexorable factual situation that referendum is the last lap for the completion of the Biafran Project.

However, instead of channeling his energy towards advising the Government of the day, led and peopled by his Hausa-Fulani kinsmen, to lend its institutional weight as required of it under extant International Laws, in completing the cycle of Biafran Restoration, he rather somersaulted and started entertaining fears that it might not be well for IPOB in our promised land of Biafra. This is clearly taking a position parallel to the one he took earlier. Hear him now: "Kanu and his friends are just irritants. They are saying what they are saying just to make some people annoyed; they just want to annoy people in power. They are not serious. What homework did they do to convince people that they would be better off in Biafra? How do you think that Governor Wike will agree to be with Biafra; how do you think that Governor Okowa will surrender Delta to Biafra?"

The question might then be asked, what is Kanu and his followers saying? Our answer is very simple. In view of the decadent values, collapsed infrastructure, visionless, massively corrosive, endemically corrupt, retrogressive and directionless leadership prevalent in Nigeria today; where destructive tribalism, ethnic jingoism, religious extremism, uncaged state sponsored marauding terrorists in Fulani herdsmen prowling the land freely, unending terror campaign by Nigerian Army,  Police against innocent law abiding citizens, weak compromised judiciary, ever depreciating and sinking currency, overwhelming and galloping inflation, poverty and frustration induced suicides of citizens, we are poised to restore our nation Biafra, which Yakassai correctly identified as holding the economic salvation of the entire Africa in the next fifty to a hundred years. That is what "Kanu and his friends" are saying. What problem does Elder Yakassai have with this noble ambition, the right of which he affirmed exists in us.

At this juncture, we are compelled to ask the 'Elder Statesman' why Nigeria’s problem is lack of leadership? It is of great interest to note that this leadership problem correctly identified by the 'Elder Statesman' has perennially remained the bane of good governance in Nigeria since the British left in 1960, so much so that nobody needs to be lectured by 'Elder' Yakassai as if it was a new truth recently discovered by the APC Government. After all, many decades ago, our own departed sage and literary legend Prof. Chinua Achebe arrived at this same diagnosis in his essay, ‘The Problem with Nigeria.’

The truth of the matter is that Biafra, when fully restored, would not be scourged with the yoke of visionless leadership we see today plaguing this British created contraption Nigeria. This same Nigeria even till today, has continued to sprinkle its bewildered despondent citizens with the callous ashes of untold misery, disillusionment, class frustration, economic wretchedness, biting poverty, and most recently suicides. This is the only gift Nigeria has to offer to millions of its citizens, painfully miserable life and premature death. To add insult to injury, the government of Nigeria responsible for this level of untold misery and shame are run by Yakassai’s kinsmen Hausa-Fulani.

We have it on record that 'Elder' Tanko Yakassai, has served as Liaison Officer to President Shehu Shagari. This is a man who informed us in this same interview that “I was never sent to school. I was taken to school, after one week they removed me till today; all I got was through my personal efforts. You can imagine if I were privileged to acquire formal education, you know where I was going to stop?" Good Lord! Why would Nigeria not continue to grapple with leadership failure when men of limited education as 'Elder' Yakassai, who by his own admission never acquired any formal education, could suddenly rise to the position of a Liaison Officer to the President. How damning! The world can now see the quality of people advising Buhari and why the economy is in such an awful mess.

Instead of naively waiting in vain, with the likes of 'Elder' Yakassai in  power, for God to come down from heaven and do for us that which he has given us the ability to do for ourselves, we IPOB have determined to restore the nation of Biafra by the grace of God. A nation where all these ills bedevilling Nigeria today can no longer haunt us. We are irrevocably committed to correcting all these ills with a steely resolve, grit and determination unmatched in the history of black civilisation. Those Hausa Fulani children and youths begging on the streets of Kano, Sokoto and Zaria today will be provided meaningful jobs and education in Biafraland should they choose to migrate southwards upon the emergence of Biafra as an independent nation. In Biafra there will be no discrimination of any sort, regardless of status or place of origin. Once you make it to Biafraland from anywhere in the world, you are a free person, valued and respected because you are a human being not an animal. In Biafra, all will be free from persecution and molestation. 

In this Biafra of our dreams, round pegs will be put in round holes. The best shall lead the rest. It is abecedarian that one cannot walk both sides of the street. 'Elder' Tanko Yakassai cannot have it both ways. It is too late to save Nigeria as presently constituted by the British.


Dr. Ikenna Chinaka
Mrs Grace Ukpai

IPOB Spokespersons

Ordeals in Nairobi - Part 1

As at 17:55 hours on Thursday, 6 April 2017, my bag was set for a holiday trip to East Africa. I could not contain my excitement because I had really wanted to travel to this part of Africa and finally, an excellent opportunity just presented itself.
My flight was scheduled to leave from Cotonou, the capital of Benin Republic, which is roughly 3 hours from where I live in Lagos. I could have taken off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, which is only but a 25-minute drive from my house but I made my choice due to cost. The cost of flying from Lagos is more than twice what I paid to fly from Cotonou, so, it was not a bad deal. The date of departure was Saturday, 8 of April 2017 by 19:30 hours, but I was ready by Thursday. I made sure I had my passport, vaccination card (yellow card), a pen and writing material, my power banks and phone chargers, two shirts, two trousers and a short. Three underpants, toothpaste, toothbrush, mosquito repellant, milk and milo, chin chin and ummm...other things...
I set out for work that evening hoping to leave for Cotonou the next morning. I also had to plan my movement this way because I do not know how long it may take me to get foreign exchange I needed to travel. The era of travelling with just cards out of Nigeria and making withdrawals abroad within Africa is past. The present economic situation in Nigeria made the government restrict cash withdrawals on ATM to only outside Africa.
Friday morning, after several contacts who promised to help me raise the foreign exchange I needed failed to turn up, I decided to go get some myself. I have heard several stories of people getting fake currencies and going to jail for the same reason. I decided to go to a credible source to raise mine. I went to a certified Bureau de Change at the Murtala Mohammed International airport and their rates were quite acceptable. I also had rest of mind as I was very sure I was travelling with original notes. Now, I will advise every reader to try as much as possible source for foreign exchange from credible sources. The cost of getting it from an unknown or incredible source may be unpleasant eventually – you will lose everything and risk a jail term (if you are not able to bribe your way out)
Leaving the airport, I set out straight to the Nigeria/Benin border. Travelling from Lagos to Benin Republic has two different border route options. These includes the Seme Border and the Idiroko/Igolo Border posts. Personally, I prefer the later because asides the fact it is closer to my house, the formalities when crossing the border is less complicated and easier compared to that in Seme. The experience I had the first time I passed through Seme was so horrible, also, the traffic on the Mile 2/Badagry Express Way in Lagos always make me think twice each time I intend taking that route. Another problem on this here, especially for a first time traveler on this route is that the number of illegal posts and stops there are just too much and each of the stops require people to pay bribes. So, it was a no brainer I had to take the Idiroko/Igolo route.

Personally, I choose to call this route Idiroko/Igolo route because the name of these borders differ depending on the country you are in. in Benin, people call it Igolo while on the Nigerian side it is called Idiroko. This is unlike Seme where both sides is called Seme.
Eventually, I settled down in a hotel around 18:00. Relaxed and checked out 12:00 on Saturday afternoon the next day and headed straight to the airport. I have some nice friends I could have stayed with but sometimes, it is cheaper to stay in hotels than staying with some friends (note I said some friends especially the ones who like beer). The hotel was only 3000cfa for a night (roughly $5).
As expected, I got to the airport on good time. On my way to the Departure Entrance, someone called me from behind…excusez-moi monsieur! Excusez-moi monsieur!! (Excuse me sir). I turned, but did not want to stop knowing fully well that some of them are likely airport touts. J’ai des affairs te propose! (I have a deal to propose to you). Then I stopped, holding my bag and my phone firmly, I responded, Je t’ecoute! (Am listening) then he told me he had some cloths he want to check into the aircraft with my name. He promised to pay me if I could help. Knowing fully well the implications of what the consequences will be if what they intend to check into the aircraft in my name is illegal or contained banned items, I politely asked them what they wanted to check-in and where the final destination of the goods is, I was told it is African wax (wrappers for women) and that it was going to Libreville. I politely told them was going to Nairobi and I may not be able to help them at this time. They understood and wished me a safe trip.

Now if you are a traveler, it is advisable not to even take along something you did not pack or arrange yourself when travelling. This is because, even someone you know too well can mistakenly put in something that is not supposed to be in the plane in your luggage. Also there cases of people giving something to someone in the airport which later resulted in arrest, imprisonment and even execution of such people who something they knew nothing about was found with. 

However, note that this is not a call not to help people in need. Personally, I have helped people check-in luggage in my name and also helped them retrieve such when we arrived our destination. Sometimes, you may see someone you really love and care about…if you really care, you can do it for love (as Tupac sang …'what you wouldn’t do, do for love!')
We boarded the plane at 18:00 hours Saturday evening and the pilot announced we would be making two stops at Libreville and Douala before leaving finally to Kigali. At Kigali, we will change another plane for Nairobi. The thought of stopping at Libreville got me excited because it was that same airport that some of the Biafran soldiers were flown to for training during the Biafran war. 

Also During the trip to Libreville, my mind was trying to imagine what the whole experience to East Africa would look like. I had planned to visit the following cities: Kigali, Entebbe, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kilimanjaro. The picture of Kilimanjaro Mountain I saw on the in-flight magazine even got me more excited. I had several dreams and pictures of what am going to do when I get there. How I am going to get a room to myself, behold the wonderful city from the window and enjoy the highest peak in Africa. You had to be in that plane to understand how I felt.
Our plane left headed for the runway at exactly 19:30 hours and after 130 minutes, we landed at Libreville. It was such a memorable moment for me. I tried to cast my mind back to the late 1960’s during the Biafran war. I imagined what was in the mind of some of our officers when they landed there for training. I also imagined the vast number of refugees who were flown from Biafra to this same airport. I felt like yea, am getting value for this tour. As I scrambled at these thoughts, I did not even know when my neighbour left the plane and yack, I was there alone.
We eventually arrived Kigali around 5:00am Sunday morning, which was 4:00am Nigerian time. I made it straight to the visa application stand while many other passengers made it to the Transit section. I said to myself, there is no need flying to Kenya since I will still come back there to take a plane back to Cotonou when am done. That point was where the first set of trouble started for me. 
This immigration officer in question had a very familiar look of a friend I have known for a while (a Kenyan). I told him I wanted to get an e-visa for East Africa and he asked me why I needed a visa for East Africa, I told him am tourist. He requested for my passport, which I gave to him, and he looked at it, said something in Swahili and then called out to one of his colleagues in French to come and see. 

This new development got me a little bit worried. They started asking me all sorts of questions. Where is your flight reservation to visit other places in East Africa, if you plan to use a bus, what is the name of the border town you will pass and several other 'stupid' questions. (Deep down within me, I knew they were doing those because of their feelings towards Nigerians). It was then that someone that seemed to be their superior came and asked me a few questions that I answered him. He looked at my passport, after going through the document and asked me where I stayed in France since he saw I have been to France, I told him I was in Paris, and he then asked where in Paris, I told him it was a place close to Portes de Versille. He then laughed and told me that even a little baby born yesterday knows where Portes de Versille is. 
At this thought of this, I felt the man may be mentally deranged; it was at that point I went to WhatsApp, to pick up the exact address and I showed him. That was how the ‘idiot’ started to read all my WhatsApp messages without my consent. It was very embarrassing as I watched him go through those messages. I asked for my phone and he told he is coming. It was so pissed off at what he was doing. He was making jest of some of the stuff he was reading in Swahili and afterwards, he told me they cannot give me the East African visa and that I should continue to Kenya where I initially made a booking to go.
In fact, for some of you my friends who sent me private messages…he saw everything…even those of you who sent something confidential and I promised no eyes will see it, I am sure someone else has seen it. This also goes to stress the need to delete or remove unwanted messages for your device after reading. It is always good to do clean up once in a while.
Still feeling unsatisfied, the man took me to the security point and asked the security to search me properly. They searched almost everything I had and then asked me to go and wait for the plane I had for 8:00am local time for Nairobi. I was mad. I was wondering why Africans would be hostile to other Africans. I also attributed this to the Nigerian passport I had because it was at the point they saw it they started misbehaving. At that point, I made an initial Facebook post to curse them…I read somewhere that cursing helps to reduce the gravity of pain and annoyance. Some positive words and encouragement I got from friends when I made that post encouraged and kept me lively until we landed at Nairobi.
Nairobi had a cool temperature as it was in Kigali. I was wondering why we in West Africa, except for Dakar of course have very warm temperature and East Africa has it cool. With these and several things that has happened in the day bothering me, I headed straight for the immigration. They asked for my Yellow Card (Vaccination Card) which I presented and then I proceeded to fill out forms for the visa. A friend who did not bring his vaccination card with him told me they asked him to pay a bribe of $20. Which he had no option but to pay.
The immigration officer (a woman) asked me to go in and see a particular woman who will have to confirm if my return ticket is valid and write an instruction for her to give me the visa. The woman confirmed it was valid and there and then asked me to tell her the exact reason I was coming to Kenya. I explained to her that I was coming for Tourism and she said I was lying that she is just giving me 10 minutes to tell her why am in Kenya. I was full of surprises. I spoke to her, madam, please look at my passport and see that I don’t even stay more than two days to most of the countries I visit. I just come in and am out. She started cursing me: “How much do you have to claim that you are a tourist, we work here every day and when we see tourists, we know. As far as I am concerned, you are not a tourist. You are here for another business and you must have to tell me what it is or I send you back” – that she yelled at me and I was just looking at her. At that point, some of us there went to the woman privately and she was demanding for money to let them go. She demanded as much as $200 from one of us. Some other Indian who came in with Ethiopian Airline called a friend of his, who came to the airport, gave them money in our presence and left. 

It was at this point, I knew it was either I go back to Nigeria or I would not give them any dime especially when I know that my intentions are genuine. At that point, an ugly looking short man with stomach as big as three pregnant women put together came out and I went to complain to him, he rather screamed at me and said I should tell them what I came for or they will send me somewhere.
One other person with us there went in to them, settled them and left and it was just me and one other Nigerian. When it was obvious to them that we did not intend to do anything (giving them bribe), they now asked us to follow a particular man. The men took us to a little prison sell within the airport premises and told us that we will be there for some time. That they will come for us at the appropriate time. To be continued...

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Two Fulani Angels

I will also thanks two very helpful Fulani men who were of immense help to me on my trip to Niger.
Mr. Bala Ibrahim. This gentleman can best be described as an understanding father and a lover of justice. He and his men of the Nigerian Immigration were at the border between Nigeria/Niger when I passed it last week Tuesday (11th of April 2017). I passed their post without paying a dime (usually, immigration officers at borders collect a fee before stamping passports to admit someone who does not require a visa into West Africa). However, at the Niger Republic border when the immigration officers requested I pay 10000cfa to pass and I bluntly refused, insisting it is free and even if I will pay, I will give them nothing more than 3000cfa. This seemed to get to the Niger's commanding officer’s nerves and he requested his men to conduct a thorough search on me. This was because according to him, I was coming to do business and not tourism, which I said, was what am coming for. However, he saw some of my valid visas which proved to him I was not headed to Agadez(it's a border town with Libya and it's a route for illegal immigrants to Europe).

In my whole life, I have ever been search the way I was searched that day. The type of search I was subjected to that day was horrible (I prefer to use interesting though). I removed everything on me except my under pants. He later even checked what was inside the under pants to be sure there's no exhibit. They had to cut my shoes to be sure I had nothing inside. I was just there laughing and afterwards, he said I should pack my things, pay the 10000cfa or go back. I told him I will go back.
Back to the Nigerian side, I narrated my ordeal to the Nigerian officers who were worried about the development. They told me to thank God they found nothing on me and that if they did, it could have been something else, because they could have arrested me. Their display of love and concern was something out of this world and at that point knowing I am Igbo, they had to escalate to their overall boss at that border, Mr Bala Ibrahim. He came, took my passport and after going through it, asked me to follow him in his bike. He took me to the Niger Immigration officers and spoke with their boss. Some other junior officers outside were cheering me that I was smart to have gone back.
After the ‘oga to oga’ talk inside, the Niger officer took my passport and stamped it and Mr Ibrahim now asked me to give them anything I had. Well, I had to give them 5000cfa eventually - to prove it’s not that am broke that I did not want to pay what they demanded.
I wanted a picture with Mr Bala for this post but he told me the Niger officers would complain if we do that at their end but that I can have his telephone no which I gladly collected. Please anyone who knows this man should help me thank him.
Meanwhile, I spent almost two hours on all these and waiting outside was another Ibrahim, another Fulani guy from Ilela in Sokoto State of Nigeria. He was patient all through and did not complain. After the whole incident, he even took me to the Airtel office to get a SIM card; to Banque Atlantique to make some transactions and then to the car company that I would be travelling with the next day. His display of patience was so excellent and I wish to thank him for it.