by Abuy Abba Akhuwa,
While the families, friends, beneficiaries and well wishers are cheering with their breadwinners who made it to the ambassadorial list of Mr President, Nigerians in diaspora are in mourning, waiting for the arrivals of the parasites that’ll soon arrive for an already failed mission to steal the little they’re earning! Aside from the recycling of old generation politicians who were appointed and re-appointed in a multiple number of times to serve in one capacity to the other; from local, states and federal governments; one question remain constant for all Nigerians living in diaspora, ‘what new unscrupulous and fraud policy will the ambassadors bring along?
As a matter of fact, no any Nigerian living outside Nigeria will appreciate or applaud the work of ambassadors. They’re the worst categories of government officials, who are hoodwinking their fellow compatriots in a no mans land and subjecting them into untold hardship.
I’ll take Sudan as a case study. In Sudan, where we have above 5,000 Nigerian students, the embassy made life of the almost 50% of the students miserable.
At most occasions, student who seek for my advise to approach the embassy for a certain difficulty, I redirect them to another possible route; be it legal or illegal.
The level of corruption in Nigerian embassies worldwide is alarming. But, the Nigerian high commission in Sudan is the worst. Hardly an embassy official will spend 2 weeks in his/her designate country without cooking up an excuse to attend a conference or a diplomatic workshop in another country- and the expenses as usual, is funded through the embassy’s coffer.
Students are, mostly, the casualties and victims of such deprivation. They charge students for every stamp ranging from $20 to 50 dollars. They jacked up the stipulated $100 dollar for the renewal of international passports to $200 dollars or $250 dollars in some cases.
Several students are now serving jail terms for a crime they didn’t commit. For instance, if you’re tested positive of hepatitis B in Sudan, according to their law, you’ll be deported with immediate effect or even risk being jailed. But, some small African countries like Niger, Senegal, Kenya and their likes, who has less than 500 students in the entire Sudan, have been able to reach an agreement with the Sudanese gov’t, which led to the repealing of the law on their citizens.
While Nigerians, with highest number of students, whom are pumping millions of dollars to Sudan yearly, through the gateway of education, were victims of malign and prejudice; courtesy of their ambassador.
Students who engaged in a minor crimes were abandoned to be languished in foreign jails without proper care from the host country. The embassy hardly attend to even a simple request of offering an ’emergency exit’ visa to student who encountered visa frauds in Nigeria and left them stranded in a country where survival is a war.
It’ll interest you to know that the former Ambassador, Mr Haliru Sodangi, whose tenure ended three months ago or so, used to threaten students to stop parading with their complaints at ‘his’ embassy compound or else he’ll lock them up! That made me wonder, why was he here, if not to listen to their complaints and solve it out?
It’s so disheartening and displeasing that the federal ministry of foreign affairs are waging no war on this irregularities perpetrated by their mission officers abroad.
After all, at most cases, career ambassadors are sometimes better than the political appointees. While the former even being corrupt, are sometimes showing a little regard in handling and attending to complaints in a professional and competent manner, the later, are the kinds of ambassadors who aren’t even familiar with the faces of their staff.
Abuy Abba Akhuwa writes from International University of Africa, Khartoum Sudan.