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.
- I was travelling with US citizens.
- I was staying at a reputable hotel.
- I didn't look 'dodgy'.
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.