Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), has said her agency has reached out to a Nigerian woman who was deported from Cape Verde on Friday.
Dabiri-Erewa made this known in a Twitter post on Friday.
While commiserating with the affected person, who identified herself simply as Teni A. (@aloinett) vis her Twitter handle, the NIDCOM boss asked her to make a formal complaint in order for the agency to get the full side of the story.
Pity this happened to you but it’s important we get the full story and all sides of the story properly documented. When you get back , pls pop in to @nidcom_gov .Send an e mail to us firstname.lastname@example.org .ng or DM @nidcom_gov . We would like to hear from you one on one . https://t.co/d8hzniVQqx
— Abike Dabiri-Erewa (@abikedabiri) April 2, 2021
In a lengthy thread of tweets on Friday, Teni claimed that she and four other Nigerians were deported on arrival at the Praia Airport in Cape Verde back to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, their departure point, because they were black and Nigerians.
According to her, a Kenyan, an Ivorian, a Jordanian, a Guinean national were also prevented from entering the country due to the complexion of their skin.
Teni said she and the three Nigerians were deported by Cape Verde, which is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), despite having their complete documentation, including negative COVID tests, paid for accommodations and return tickets.
She said they learnt from Dakar Airport officials upon their deportation that this has been a regular occurrence between Air Senegal and the Cape Verde authorities, with the Senegalese officials complaining that Cape Verde is particularly problematic.
She tweeted: “Everything was fine until we got to the airport in Praia. Then some of us were pulled aside because we were there to visit. This group included an Italian couple, my Sudanese-American friend, a Spanish couple, a Kenyan, an Ivorian, a Jordanian, a Guinean and four Nigerians.
“All of the white people were allowed to go through as well as my black friend with an American passport. Then some woman came and snatched the passports from the rest of us without any explanation. Another guy came and told us that they were sending us back.
“Why? That we were not allowed to visit because of COVID. Then we asked why the white people and my American friend were let through. They said they decided who could stay and who could go. So everyone with a Western passport went through. In West Africa. In #CapeVerde.
“I guess the first sign that something was off was when my AirBnB host asked my nationality then told me to come with some evidence of funds if I was traveling with a Nigerian passport. Funny thing is the only thing they looked at were our passports. Didn’t ask for anything else.
“The only non-black person that was deported with us, a Jordanian, thinks he was lumped with us because he has Nigerian visas in his passport. Before we left this morning, my American friend was joking about her passport privilege. Who knew we were about to learn how true it was.
“I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends that have been unsuccessfully trying to convince me to “get a second passport”. So this was a stark reminder about the reality of being a Nigerian in the world and in Africa. Good bye #CapeVerde. Shame on you.”
Teni subsequently responded to Abike-Dabiri’s tweet, saying she and the other three Nigerians will make a formal complaint to NIDCOM over their travail in Cape Verde.
Thank you Mrs @abikedabiri. We'll be filing a formal complaint. We had all of our documentation including negative COVID tests, paid for accommodations and return tickets. We were to be in Praia only until Monday. Rules should be implemented equally without discrimination.
— Teni T. 😷 (@aloinett) April 2, 2021