The Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, has observed with uneasiness, the deportation of 125 Nigerian citizens on the excuse of possession of Yellow fever vaccine Certificates that were not genuine.
Ordinarily, it is part of the rights of any sovereign Nation to make discretionary requirements for the procurement of its visa. What is irregular in this case was that the presentation of the yellow fever certificate is sine qua non to the issuance of the South African visa; the hapless Nigerians (including Children on excursion) were subjected to humiliating ordeal at the South African port of entry with ‘no food’, ‘no water’ for up to 24 hours before their formal deportation.
It is our view that this is an ostensible reason and not the underlying motive for this cruel action by the South African authority. With the probability of error tilting more on the negligence of the South African embassy staff and not the Nigerians validly issued visa, the South African authority could have saved the day by offering inoculation service for a fee; the humiliating treatment of the Nigerians was odious and therefore, unacceptable!
What is inevitably playing out is the shambolic foreign policy thrust of the Nigerian state in recent times. The preponderance of Ambassadorial positions had, largely, been used for obsequious partisan patronage with no regard for professionalism and competence. The subsisting foreign policy of the country, anchored on Africa as its center piece, needs to be appraised. Nigeria and Nigerians’ interests ought to be the center piece of the Nation’s foreign policy thrust. The maturation of the Nation’s electoral process is still at the unenviable level where incumbents seek to win at all costs with the attendant thuggish distortion and disruption. This, obviously, vitiates the ‘big-brother’ status of Nigeria in the African continent.
The principle of reciprocity is a potent foreign relations instrument that Nations employ to assert their sovereignty and craving for respectability. Whilst the South African state had, in the past, unleashed this regime of Yellow Card inspection on intending Nigerian visitors (despite the WHO’s certification of Nigeria as free from Yellow fever), it is vitally important that intending South African visitors to Nigeria should henceforth be certified free from the prevalent diseases in South Africa like HIV and Tuberculosis.
Finally, it is our considered opinion that, as part of the mutually agreed settlement of this furore, the South African authority must adequately compensate these traumatized Nigerians that have been so shabbily treated!
God bless Nigeria.