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Corruption at the Nigerian Consulate Atlanta – A Victim’s Nightmarish Experience

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The Nigerian High Commission in Atlanta Georgia  has become a Cesspool of Corruption as some Nigerians who traveled to Atlanta from Houston for their Nigerian international passport-renewal walk out with horrible stories of bribery, extortion, and massive corruption. One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in, and this has become a routine.  Here’s is a victim’s nightmarish experience:

So we got to the Nigerian Consulate at exactly 9am this morning, the first thing my daughters said was why are there so many people lining up at the gate. My wife responded that; this is Nigeria, you are welcome (Even for me it was awkward too, the last time I saw a queue outside was at the clubs at night). The first thing I noticed from the last time I was there was the gate blocking the parking lots, I soon found out that we now have to pay $20.00 for parking (Supposedly charged by the owner of the next building to the Consulate). After parking, we wrote down our names, there were already almost 50 names written down, meaning several people had arrived at the Consulate hours before it opened at 9am, I can understand this as most of the visitors were from out of state.




A few minutes later a lady from the Consulate addressed the crowd from across the gate, telling everyone what to expect and helped answer some questions. Then they started calling the names (But not in the order that they were written down). I already told myself I wouldn’t get upset no matter what, because I had my family with me.

I thought we got everything we needed until my wife soon told me we did not have the $130.00 for each applicant and that our self-addressed envelope had no stamp, I was deflated. I was hoping we would just get there, go in, wait and do our bio and leave… Nah.

One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in

I went to the business center in the next building and to my surprise, it was like Nigeria all over again. This guy does not only charge $20 for parking, he already bought several dozens of Money orders (130.00 each) and resale them for $140.00 each, I don’t blame him for that, that is business. However, I blame him for selling the USPS priority mail envelopes for $35.00 each… In case you don’t know, the USPS envelopes are free at the post office. So this guy go to the post office and pack stacks of free envelopes and he cannot sell them for $5.00 each but instead, he is selling a free United States property for $35.00, because he knows that the majority of the applicants travelled from out of state and most of them have to return the same day or the next with little to no time to waste. Nigerians!!!!! I am not sure that is not even a criminal offense… I am going to look into that though, so stay tuned.

 

One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in

I walked out and I went to the nearest post office and bought my own Money Order, I already have some free envelopes and when I asked for stamps, the guy said they were sold out! I went to the second nearest post office, their stamps were sold out too!!! How can this happen in America! It cannot be a coincidence that the two nearest post offices to the Nigerian Consulate are out of stamps by 10am on a Tuesday. I have never heard of a US post office running out of stamps in all my life living in the US.

I had to log into my postal account to download a label and print at a UPS store.

Finally it was our turn, I presented our documents and money order, I asked the lady what should we addressed the MO’s to, and she said don’t worry, leave it blank. I was like WHAT?? She said yes leave it blank, she even wanted to take the money order without me detaching the stubs, to which I refused and stated that I can have her take the MO without me filling out the info, but I will need to keep the stubs as those are my receipts of purchase.

She agreed and added them to what she already had inside a large envelope filled with unsigned MO’s…

Questions;

Why must we always create a gap for corruption? Can we ever do anything without kickbacks? What kind of people are we, that take pride in making it’s own suffer? Is Nigerian government not paying these people? How is the government able to track how many MO’s are presented daily and who submitted which ones? Why can we not have applicants mail in their passports and schedule them for a bio appointment? Why do we always have to leave a loophole for corruption?

Though we are a Nation that have institutionalized corruption in every area of our lives, one would think that our culture of corruption will stop at the borders of Nigeria, but no. There are Embassies and Consulates of other African Nations across the world, we don’t see or hear so much issues with their citizens like that of Nigerians in diaspora. These people were appointed to look out for and protect our interests, but they turned around and are milking us dry, taking pride in being oppressors because someone nominated them for the position and they think they are bigger and better than their subjects. The whole bio process did not even take more than 15 minutes once you are called inside, but because of the many artificial roadblocks and challenges implemented to syphon money from applicants, it took us almost 6hrs.

I will not be surprised if the folks in the Consulate get some type of kickbacks from the parking fees charged by the business center beside them.

They wouldn’t even wipe down the finger printing machine after every use as directed by the CDC, subjecting everyone to potential Covid-19 infection.

Though this is something we all don’t like to talk about, like it is not our problem, as a Nigerian-American I am deeply concerned about issues like these. I strive daily to leave a better impression of myself as a Nigerian everywhere I go and with whomever I have any form of relationship with. To see the gatekeepers of Nigeria acting with such impunity in broad daylight is so disheartening.

What really is wrong with Nigeria?

By Foli Adewojo.

Texas Guardian News
  • One victim complained of how applicants were requested to bring a blank Money Order of $130 each by one Hannatu at the Gate before they can be allowed in

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Eléaye Proctor

    April 3, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Why do Nigerians always call it @international passports”? I wasn’t aware passports were meant for local travel. The term passport denotes it is for international travel. Please, use correct language!

  2. Asinugo - EJIOGU. Chizo.

    April 4, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    VERY Sad indeed! How an we be proud of our nation when we are all corrupt? HON. ABIKE DABIRI Please step in and STOP THE ONGOING CORRUPTION AND RESTORE DIGNITY AT OUR CONSULATE. I DON’T SEE WHY Passports cannot be mailed to the embassy for renewal.

  3. AYO OJO

    April 4, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    We shouldn’t be tired reporting any untoward conduct of Nigerian public officer, as there is no other way to correct and shame these agents of disgrace.May be some of these processes be made automatic to shut out the miscreants. If we give up, the few evil may win. Keep the efforts.
    The offenders be sent back home without any option of acquittal

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Africa

The Cameroonian migrants stranded on a strange island

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How did more than 600 Cameroonians come to find themselves stranded on a Caribbean island that many of them had never heard of? Journalist Gemma Handy reports from St John’s in Antigua.

Daniel fights to hold back the tears as he recounts the day his two younger brothers were shot dead by militia during a trip to the market in his native Cameroon.

They are among more than 6,000 people to have been killed amid a bitter secessionist war that has been raging for six years in the Central African country.

Hundreds of thousands more have been forced from their homes since violence broke out in 2017 between security forces and Anglophone separatists who say they face discrimination in the majority French-speaking nation.

Daniel’s despair intensifies as he explains how he faces life imprisonment or death should he return – and pleads with the authorities not to send him home.

A group of women walk through the the Bogo IDP camp during a field visit by Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)in Maroua on April 28, 2022.
Thousands of Cameroonians have been forced from their homes by the violence

He was hoping to reach the United States, which last June offered temporary protected status to Cameroonians already in the country, and where he had planned to flee under the radar.

And neither is Daniel, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, alone.

He is one of more than 600 desperate Cameroonian migrants to have instead found himself stranded on a tiny island of 94,000 people in the Eastern Caribbean via what appears to have been an unscrupulous people-smuggling operation.

Some forked out as much as $6,000 (£5,000) on charter flights marketed on social media by bogus tour companies pledging to organise immigration logistics as part of the package.

Most of those who have unwittingly ended up in Antigua – an island some of them said they had never heard of before – say they had only expected to stay for a few days before being taken to South America, from where they had planned to make their way north to the US.

But when the transport failed to materialise, they were stuck in Antigua with no money left to fund their onward journey.

Hundreds of Cameroonians have arrived in Antigua in recent months
Some of the migrants looked lost after their charter flight had dropped them off in Antigua

The fiasco erupted in the wake of attempts by the government of Antigua and Barbuda to establish a direct air route between the twin isle nation and Central Africa.

Three centuries after Antiguans’ ancestors were first forced onto slave ships from Africa to work on brutal British-owned sugar plantations on the island, many welcomed new linkages with the motherland. The first charter flight touched down – fittingly – on Independence Day on 1 November with a water cannon salute.

Within weeks, however, at least three more charters operated by another carrier mirroring its operations arrived in the country bearing throngs of Cameroonians escaping persecution.

According to official figures, 637 Central Africans remain on the island, with depleted finances due to the hefty fees forked out for the December and January flights.

Many are staying in ramshackle homes with sparse utilities at very low rents or cheap guesthouses, while they try to scrabble together funds to continue their journey.

A view of one of the typical Antiguan village in which the migrants have been trying to find accommodation
Many have tried to find cheaper accommodation in small villages like this one

It has created a complicated situation for Antigua and Barbuda which is more used to welcoming tourists than refugees. What most residents are united on is sympathy; to what extent the situation should impact the local landscape with its limited resources less so.

“The government needs to resolve this matter both for the poor people of Cameroon and for the poor people of Antigua,” aviation entrepreneur Makeda Mikael tells the BBC. “Opening up the mid-Atlantic as a migrant route could ruin tourism in the Caribbean.”

The government previously declared its intention to repatriate the refugees. It has since announced a U-turn on humanitarian grounds.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas said a skills audit will be carried out on the migrants to “determine the benefits” of allowing them to stay.

“As the economy continues to expand, we’re going to need additional skills,” he told a press conference. “We will give them accommodation and find a way to give them legal status here.”

He added that the government hoped islanders would “embrace and have an open heart” to the Africans.

Downtown t John's
The information minister plans to carry out a skills audit

Some have done just that, assisting what they see as their ancestral brethren with food, money and a place to stay.

But the government’s stance has not been welcomed by all. Opposition politicians staged a demonstration on 7 February demanding an inquiry into how the situation arose and a consultation on what should happen next.

In the meantime, incoming charter flights from Central Africa have been suspended. Governor General Sir Rodney Williams recently reiterated the government’s pledge to help their African “brothers and sisters”.

He said the country was “committed to protecting all residents from exploitation and harsh treatment”, adding that “no foreign national, except for criminals, should fear deportation”.

Antigua and Barbuda is not the only Caribbean country affected by an influx of Cameroonian migrants.

A few hundred miles away in Trinidad, five Cameroonians awaiting repatriation were granted an 11th-hour court injunction on 16 February preventing the move after intervention by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Precisely how they reached Trinidad remains unclear but they shared similar stories of arbitrary arrests, torture and death threats in their homeland.

What started as peaceful protests in October 2016 by professionals protesting about discrimination against English-speaking Cameroonians escalated into a bloody conflict when government military forces cracked down.

There are now several armed separatist groups across Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions burning down entire villages and targeting any institution that represents the state, including schools and hospitals, Amnesty International researcher Fabien Offner says.

“It’s definitely one of the worst human rights situations we are covering in the African continent,” Mr Offner tells the BBC.

“Everyone is running for their lives,” Daniel concurs. “Those who are very poor don’t know where to go, they don’t have money to fly away. If some of these children can run to Antigua they should let them.”

Edith Oladele is an Antiguan who used to live in Cameroon.

“Cameroonians are generally a very peace-loving people. They’re just trying to make a better life for their children and families,” she says.

“When we go over there we are welcomed with open arms as the descendants of slaves who’ve come back home. I am praying these people will be able to stay here.”

Texas Guardian News
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Africa

Nigeria starts U20 AFCON on a sad note, loses to Senegal

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Flying Eagles of Nigeria, seven times winners, has unfortunately started the 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations currently ongoing in Egypt on a sad note as the club lost 1-0 to junior Teranga Lions of Senegal on Sunday.

Souleymane Faye got the only goal of the match in the 40th minute to take his country top of the group. The slim win shows that Senegal is now leading in Group A after the host country, Egypt, was forced to a goalless draw by Mozambique.

The young Pharaohs worked very hard to win the match but was not so lucky as it was frustrated by the defensive sagacity of Mozambique which thwarted all efforts of the hosts.

Meanwhile, Flying Eagles put a lot of pressure on Senegal after going behind but the Junior Teranga Lions showed resilience and withstood the threats posed by their opponents, leading to the 1-0 loss.

From all indications the result might have come to Nigerians as a bit of a surprise after the seven times winners of the CAF U20 Cup of Nations prepared adequately with friendly games both within and outside the country with wins in almost all the test games played.

However, Nigeria still has a chance to make amends when it takes on the host nation in a game both countries need to brighten their chances of progression.

Texas Guardian News
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Africa

Senior Israeli diplomat ejected from AU summit as row escalates

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A senior Israeli diplomat on Saturday was removed from the African Union’s annual summit in Ethiopia, as a dispute over Israel’s accreditation to the bloc escalated.

Images posted online showed AU security personnel confronting the diplomat during the opening ceremony of the summit, before she left the auditorium.

“Israel looks harshly upon the incident in which the deputy director for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with entrance badges,” the foreign ministry said.

Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson for the African Union’s commission chairman, said the diplomat had been removed because she was not the duly accredited Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, the official who was expected.

But Israel blamed the incident on South Africa and Algeria, two key nations in the 55-country bloc, saying they were holding the AU hostage and were driven by “hate”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the charge d’affaires at South Africa’s embassy would be summoned for a reprimand.

“The attempt to cancel Israel’s observer status has no basis in the organization’s laws,” the ministry said.

South Africa rejected the claim, saying Israel’s application for observer status at the AU has not been decided upon by the bloc.

“Until the AU takes a decision on whether to grant Israel observer status, you cannot have the country sitting and observing,” Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy in South Africa’s department of international relations, told Reuters.

“So, it’s not about South Africa or Algeria, it’s an issue of principle.”

South Africa’s ruling party has historically been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.

The Algerian delegation at the summit was not immediately available for a comment.

Texas Guardian News
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