Thursday, July 5, 2007

That damn green passport!!!! My frustration and anger knows no bounds!!!! I previously discussed the impact of Nigerian citizenship and specifically, Nigerian passports in 'The Pride and Pain of Nigerian Citizenship'. I wrote that post to get some closure to a bad Nigerian-passport experience. Unfortunately, I had no idea that the bad times were not done yet.....

I am still in the West Indies and decided to take a trip to Tobago (the other half of Trinidad). My family and I visited a travel agent, purchased our tickets and prepared for an exciting trip to another island.

The day arrived and we made our way to the airport (we were in Barbados). After a tiring flight, (my daughter, 'The Enforcer', threw up on all of us), we finally landed in Tobago. There, we discovered, to our surprise, that unlike most other East Caribbean nations, Nigerians need visas to enter. So, there I was at the Immigrations counter, looking at the Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), thinking 'This cannot be happening... they are going to send my Nigerian behind right back on the plane. Lord, help me.'

Luckily for me, a few factors weighed in my favor and the CIO allowed me to enter his country.

  1. I was travelling with US citizens.
  2. I was staying at a reputable hotel.
  3. I didn't look 'dodgy'.
But, even more important than any of those factors was the fact that I am a U.S. green card holder. Once he was informed of my U.S. status, he promptly looked at me and said, "Okay, this will take a while, but I can get you in." He gave me a waiver that allowed me to vacation in Tobago although he held my passport.

When he called me to get my signature, I sheepishly thanked him for his assistance and said, "Sorry to have put you through all this. I know it took some work on your part."
The CIO laughed and said, "Girl, relax yourself."
He stamped a few more documents, handed me some papers and said, "Go, have a good time, okay?"

Now, I understand that I should not have relied on my travel agent's 'knowledge' as to whether or not Nigerians need visas to visit Trinidad and Tobago. I should have done the research myself. This will never happen to me again. That being said, being that Yardy is taking his sweet time in revealing who will have key government positions, I would like to suggest the need for some serious bi-lateral agreements that will allow Nigerians to travel a lot more freely. He needs to create a post for an individual to go around the world and make life easier for those of us Nigerians that want to travel using our Nigerian passports. It is a shame that my American green card (God bless America) made the difference in getting me into Tobago. Thank God, the CIO was a nice person and thought of a way to get around the rules. It would have been an incredible shame to have hopped on a flight right out of Tobago. It just so happened to be a beautiful country with warm, wonderful people. I would have missed out on a nice experience on account of that damn green passport.

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Ike Anya said...

Ms. Catwalq said...

one day, we will return to the place of voyagers repute...
so how was trini?

classybabe said...

Whenever i want to bring out my passport i always feel self-conscious ,just because of what that "green" colour is associated with.I bring out the passport the exact moment it's required and not a second b4,which is quite sad.

uknaija said...

Ah the tales I could tell about journeys with a Nigerian passport

soul said...

the West Indian Islands have a special relationship with the US, hence your US green card thing was likely to work better.

I believe it is the role of our ambassadors to these countries to promote the Nigeria and Nigerians to the countries they live in.

Our problems lay squarely with us, unfortunately it is not the majority of us who behave appropriately in another man's land, it's the minority of us.
As Nigerians we are big fans of, 'by any means necessary' obtaining money is the be all and end all. We are largely very short term goal oriented.
most of us go to new places to quickly get money, try the same scam we tried in that old place and gas.... fast! before anyone discovers we have hit them.
Little to no thought is given to the fact that the reputation of our beloved country rests on the things we do and the way we carry ourselves.
Till we sort it out, nobody will be giving Nigerians any free passes. They all have their own issues to sort out, without trying to add to their own burden.

it sounds dire, but that's unfortunately the way I see it.
Unill we stop (by virtue of our silence or our govt's in action)endorsing 419's, yahoo boys, fast scams, we won't be given free reign or entry to anyone else's house/country.

Naija Vixen said...

Eya...again??? Lol,you sha got in...have a great week and looking forward to you blogging more regularly!

TheAfroBeat said...

Sad but true. at least you have the green card eh? the rest of us (who constantly get suspicious scrutiny of our F-1/H-1/B-1 visas as if we don't deserve the whatever thousands of naira are being paid for them these days) would have had a not-so-happy ending, trust me!

Femme said...

did u change your template recently? cos i've read this before in the first week of july.

Isabella said... sad..

JohnBenjamin said...

I am so sorry.

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