Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Nigeria Asks South Africa to Caution Police, Immigration

Nigeria asks S’Africa to caution Police, Immigration

Tuesday, 06 March 2012 00:00
By Bola Olajuwon News
Nigerian Guardian

NIGERIA yesterday made real its threat of no longer accepting the maltreatment of her nationals by South African authorities with a formal protest lodged with Pretoria government’s officials.

According to Nigerian diplomatic sources, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, a meeting was also held after the protest was lodged to defuse tensions over the issue.

The meeting, according a reliable diplomatic source, began at 2p.m. Nigerian time.

The source revealed that the talks with the South African authorities over last Thursday’s refusal of entry to Nigerians by the Southern African country’s immigration authorities due to alleged possession of fake yellow fever inoculation cards, was “smooth.”

At the meeting, it was reliably gathered that Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa and his team expressed the Federal Government’s disappointment with the action of South African immigration officers.

Nigeria specially requested the South African authorities to caution its Police and Immigration officers against maltreating Nigerians.

Nigeria’s diplomatic team also requested the payment of costs of travelling of the returned passengers on the Arik Airline flight.

No fewer than 125 Nigerians who arrived in South Africa on Thursday, were deported on Friday with 75 of them aboard South African Airways while 50 were on Arik Air.

The South Africa Immigration and Port Health have insisted that they do not recognise the yellow cards from Nigeria and that the signatures on them were irregular.

It was learnt that this is clearly out of their brief because such matters are determined by their high commission or consulate in the issuing countries.

Meanwhile, a reliable source in the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that the “rein-in of South African Immigration and police officers have become necessary.”

The source stated that apart from the different positions taken by Nigeria and South Africa on the Libyan crisis, the two Pretoria agencies have been quoted several times on the ill treatment of Nigerians.

Such ill treatments include the undignified conduct to prominent Nigerians like the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who later received an apology. In 2001, the then Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Kema Chikwe, was held hostage by the South African Port Health, which insisted that a Minister of the Federal Republic must be vaccinated and quarantined. Earlier that same year, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo visited South Africa, he publicly admitted the humiliation suffered by Nigerians in the country.

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