THE PRIDE & PAIN OF NIGERIAN CITIZENSHIP

Monday, June 18, 2007

Being Nigerian is like being the mother of a wayward, troublesome child. You obviously love your child and are proud of his/her accomplishments but are deeply hurt and disappointed by his /her shortcomings. This relationship, between Nigerians and Nigeria is one that is frequently tinged by pride and pain. Nothing illustrates this as clearly as the following experience.

I am currently in the Commonwealth of Dominica and everywhere I go are reminders of home. Everyone is nice and kind. Many people even look like they could be Nigerian (yes, sometimes people can look 'Nigerian"). I see fruits I ate as a child living in Lagos - mangos, pawpaw (papaya), guava, breadfruit, bananas and much more. When I tell people that I am Nigerian, I get warm smiles and nice compliments (some rasta promptly called me an "African Queen"). I even discovered from a street vendor that Nollywood films are extremely popular here and in other parts of the West Indies.

Now, I have always been proud to be Nigerian. At no point in my existence has my nationality posed a problem. Until recently. Dominica is located in the Windward section of the Caribbean and is surrounded by other exciting destinations such as Grenada, Guadeloupe, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Kitts. Well, being that I am in Dominica, I decided that the family should visit Martinique - a neighboring French speaking island. A trip to Martinique should ordinarily take a quick 30 minutes by plane but a trip by a Nigerian with a Nigerian passport- now that wouldn't be that easy.

I called the local French Consul and was informed that as a Nigerian, it would be difficult to get a visa to visit. Although Martinique is located in the West Indies, it is a French colony and thus considered part of the EU for most purposes. Therefore, I would need to get a visa to travel there. However, the closest embassy is in St. Lucia and it only deals with the paper work of OECS citizens (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States). The kind lady I spoke to even suggested that as a U.S. resident, I "really should get an American passport." Long story short, I will not be visiting Martinique or any other French colony on this trip.

As a side note - travelling to Dominica was easy. As members of the British Commonwealth, Nigerians do not need a visa. So, if you feel like taking a trip, consider visiting Dominica. It is just a shame that carrying that green passport can be such a pain for Nigerian citizens even all the way out here in the Caribbean.


Further Reading:
- My Nigerian Passport Strikes Again!

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Jaja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaja said...

my green passport. my green passport seems to lose colour from being much peered at, at airports.

always, i hide my exasperation. i have grown to expect it.

bayusch said...

believe me we get all sorts of treatments...No matter what though, I won't change my green pali for another....Heard some rumour abt the change of naija pali colour to that of the europeans...anyone know abt this?
BTW, FYI, as a Nigerian, you now need entry visa to get to the Dominica..... http://www.dominica.dm/site/entryreqs.cfm

Omodudu said...

What amazes me is that it is still relatively easy for some other countries whose citizens are considered high risk to move around the world. I have come to the conclusion that "we are too many".LOL have a great trip.

Emmanuel said...

I just checked and the Dominica Republic requires NIGERIANS to get a visa now to visit their country. What an irony. You just posted this on 18th june and today is just 20th june and you now need a visa to visit the Dominican Republic. Men this people are really treating us bad. What can we do to stop this inhumane treatment to Nigerians.

Naija Vixen said...

Dominica...uhm...i envy you,bet you are having loadsa fun! My passport?Only seen when ABSOLUTELY necessary,even then im keeping it on the downlow..sad but true!

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Umm, I am actually in the COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA not the Dominican Republic. Sorry for theonfusion, guys....

Miss FlyHigh - LondonsNaijaQueen said...

Na wa o!!

Mine has not disgraced me and I suppos eit can't because I'll only ever be using it when going back to the mother land ....!

Anonymous said...

Naijirian nd pRouD niggaZ :p

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