Source: The Guardian (Abuja)
These are not the best of times for the average Nigerian citizen. At home the dire straits of the economy impose hardship hitherto unknown in our documented history. The social climate is akin to that of a season of war and anomie.
Recent reports have shown evidence that Nigerians who seek greener pastures abroad are treated with ignominy by the embassies in Lagos and Abuja and are further brutalised in the course of their journeys through ports of entry. Some who travel through illegal routes often suffer a worse fate in some North African countries or lose their lives in the high seas.
Visa processing fees paid to foreign embassies by Nigerians are about the highest in the world with these embassies making fantastic sums in an immoral manner from desperate Nigerians. Yet Nigerians are denied simple courtesies by most of the embassies.
Abroad, most Nigerian embassies, managed by fellow Nigerians treat diaspora citizens with disdain and contempt: they offer no solace to Nigerians who are in distress. Where do Nigerians turn to for help if the weather at home is inclement and life abroad is hostile? This is the dilemma of Nigerians about which the federal and state governments remain obtuse.
The effect is that Nigerians abroad would rather avoid their own nation’s embassies because the notorious bureaucratic inefficiencies at home have been transferred to those mini-representatives of the Nigerian state.