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Nigerians In Diaspora, Devalued Like The Naira


letterSIR: Over the years, the value of the naira has fallen faster than those Centuries old Nepalese temples struck by the recent earthquake. The naira has been bruised and battered, but despite all it has been through, it still stands tall in value compared to an average Nigerian in the Diaspora.

A week ago, an ABC news line ‘NIGER DEPOTS 3,000 NIGERIANS’ did catch my attention as the Giant of Africa now has its citizens thrown out by one of the world’s poorest nations. Just as if that wasn’t enough, I went on to discover these 3,000 Nigerians were just the first batch of 6,000 deportees to be sent back to Nigeria.

They bore tales of harsh treatment meted out to them in the hands of the Nigerien military. It’s a pity Nigerians venerate every Tom, Dick and Harry, especially the non-Negros ‘Oyinbos,’ we accept all; even those with Ebola will do what it takes to get here, little wonder why Patrick Sawyer flew over four countries just to come to the ‘Giant of Africa’. It’s only a clay giant that will bear her citizens been killed, maimed and their properties destroyed in Xenophobic attacks for no just cause (except that they were successful), without doing more than a press conference.

The permanent secretary who summoned up courage to recall Nigeria’s ambassador from South Africa was fired. I guess this clay giant should take a cue from Israel’s 2011 prisoner swap, where a single soldier, Gilad Shalit was exchanged for 1,027 prisoners, dozens of which were serving life sentences.

Some of my associates studying in Diaspora will not forgive me if I fail to mention young Nigerian brains that were sent on scholarship but have been neglected by our political elite who failed to send them the stipulated scholarship allowances, leaving some of these young talents no option than groping around in their host countries.

Thousands of Nigerians go in search of the golden fleece and those who can’t save enough to purchase visas end up in the Mediterranean like a Nigerian mother who gave birth to baby Florence Marina aboard an Italian navy Marina vessel. Little wonder why the baby was so named in tribute to the Italian Navy.

While Nigerians give up their life savings to get these visas, grapevines have it that Nigerian visas sells for about 100 to 200 Naira in over a dozen countries.

Like every other issue, we can’t just scrutinise the political elite and exonerate some of these Nigerian emigrants who tarnish the image of the nation.

Last year, Senate president David Mark did make it clear that “if you end up peddling drugs we won’t come begging for you” and just last month four Nigerians were part of the eight foreigners executed in Indonesia for drugs related charges.

While they sang ‘amazing grace’ as they were about to be executed by firing squad, it was reported by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA that one of the condemned was coordinating drug related activities while in jail.

Despite these, there were claims that the judicial process wasn’t a fair one, which led to the UN repeatedly calling for a stay of execution.

It’s time we Nigerians do a soul-searching as we try our best to be good ambassadors everywhere we find ourselves. Since we now have CHANGE at home, I believe we can also have positive CHANGE in the Diaspora.

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