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Olubukola Osiyemi met his untimely death in France while on a transit to Nigeria

from Hungary, where he had a permanent resident. He was alleged to have

been tortured, according to his Hungarian wife, Mrs Zita Osiyemi



Nigerians' Blood on their Hands

By Hakeem Babalola


Nigerians all over the world demonstrated against the horrible and dehumanizing killing of Osamuyiwa Aikpitanhi, 23, who was reportedly murdered by Spanish authority in an insensate destruction. By this action, these Nigerians have marched the mules called leaders into the desert of consciousness. Their intelligence and general knowings was impressive.

I just couldn't stop marvelling at such ingenuity. Knowing that their government would turn blind eyes to the savage killing, these Nigerians mounted a protest letter – signed by over 2000 Nigerians and non-Nigerians including yours truly, which I think is the best approach under the circumstance.

I am afraid though. I hate to say it but their efforts to end such extremely cruel murder will be in vain unless the Nigerian government is ready to address such cruel and deliberate killing of its citizens around the world. And such address must be critical and seriously intended. You may call me certain names but Osamuyia's killing won’t be the last. Jesus, the thought is overwhelmingly distressful.

Meanwhile, there are two main reasons Nigerians will continue to suffer inhumane treatment abroad or killed in cold-blooded manner: 

First and foremost is the innocuous attitude of the Nigerian government and its representatives (diplomats) towards the inhumane treatment of its citizens. Many Nigerians have been killed in foreign countries in such circumstances that need serious intervention from our embassies. Our friends there should be able to tell us the outcome of the investigations over the gruesome killings of Olubukola Osiyemi, Motunrayo Oguntuase, Eugene Ejike Obiora, and Osamuyia Aikpitanhi.

Olubukola Osiyemi met his untimely death in France while on a transit to Nigeria from Hungary, where he had a permanent resident. He was alleged to have been tortured, according to his Hungarian wife, Mrs Zita Osiyemi, who had to contact the Hungarian Interpol before she eventually knew her deceased husband’s whereabouts.

Motunrayo Oguntuase, a first year economic student at McDaniel College in Budapest, died in a circumstance described by a Nigerian consular as disappointing. The police said they picked Oguntuase up based on a phone call they received that a naked person was in the street. They claimed he displayed signs of aggression, mumbled incoherent words, which prompted them to restrain him.

Eugene Ejike Obiora was beaten to death by Trondheim police. It was reported that he had had some discussion with the social officers, and refused to leave until he was attended to. The social officers invited the police who later invited other police officers. Eugene was handcuffed, kicked, and dragged on the floor through the staircase; he sustained injuries that led to his death before the arrival of an ambulance.

Now the question I will continue to ask is this: what action did the Nigerian Embassies take? As far as I know in the first two cases, the Nigerian Embassy did take initial actions but their best failed the test. I have a hunch that Nigerian diplomats do not trust their fellow citizens abroad, so approaching our embassies for any service especially immigration issues might bring disappointment.

The case of a "Nigerian" homeless student in Hungary, Enemuor Frank Chibuzor, 27, is typical of such distrust. Despite the fact that Enemuor gave his address as 36 Nmwoji street, Independence Layout, Enugu, the Nigerian Embassy in Budapest still raising doubts about his nationality while the boy's health continuse to deteriorate.  

Our diplomats, it seems, have inferiority complex when it comes to dealing with their hosts; otherwise Nigerians would not continue to die like "a goat had died"; and yet they maintained a strong silence.

The second reason for the inhumane treatment of Nigerians abroad may be due to our desperation to leave our country in order to search for "a better life" abroad, which is obvious to these countries. I mean, if they treated us so badly when applying for visas, we should not expect them to treat us any better when we finally get to their land. If, according to Levi Obijiofor, [many Nigerians] "say in desperation that they wouldn’t mind putting up tent under a bridge in a foreign country anywhere outside Africa", how then do you want them to treat us?

For instance, a Nigerian mother of five in her quest to obtain travel documents was reportedly harassed, humiliated, and assaulted by a French officer. Reacting to the inhuman treatment, the woman’s husband said that though he was angered he was afraid that pursuing the case would jeopardise his business interest with his overseas’ partner. Hum, can you blame the poor fellow who may never know what dignity entails!

Another report had it that Justin Belonwu and Ugwu Desmond were ill-treated by the French police on their way to Germany. The duo hands were tied behind them, their faces covered with blankets simply because they did not have hotel reservation tickets! Six other Nigerians were allegedly forced down from the same plane and taken into detention for daring to challenge the police brutality of their fellow Nigerians. They were not airlifted to Lagos – their destination.

A hypertension patient, Mrs Magdalene Anukwuike Okafor-Orji, was disgraced and deported by the Dutch Immigration officials after she was told that her Nigerian passport had been forged, according to Vanguard Online. She had used the same passport to obtain a visa to Switzerland – her final destination – for medical check up.

On reaching Murtala Muhammad Airport, the helpless woman, who had been locked up in "a cold room" and "almost frozen to death" back in Holland encountered another harassment from her own people. The Nigerian Immigration officers started screaming at her saying she was one of those who give Nigeria a bad image.

There are two clear messages in the above story. First, for Dutch immigration officials to have accused a Nigerian coming from Nigeria of passport forgery, and subsequently repatriated her shows they have no respect or confidence in their Nigerian counterpart. Mrs. Magdalene obviously passed through the Nigerian Immigration, so if the passport was forged, it should have been the duty of Nigerian immigration to question her. Second, screaming at her when she arrived in Lagos shows that our immigration officials do not have confidence in their own efficiency.

If they understood the whole thing, Nigerian immigration should have quarrelled with their Dutch counterpart over this issue. By not taking the case against the Dutch officials for accusing someone who had passed through their nose of passport forgery is an admission of Dutch officials’ superiority over them. And this is why we shall continue to be maltreated by foreign countries. These people know this, and seem to be exploiting the avenue. If you killed a Nigerian, no one will raise eyebrows.

Agree or not, it still comes down to the attitude of our government. The way it treats such issues has been marked by blithe unconcern. Although Obasanjo's administration once approved a number of policies to protect Nigerians abroad, the crux of the matter must be seen in proper context. We must correct the fundamental reasons responsible for the "cheek out" mentality of Nigerians. This may save a precious life in the hands of those foreign officials who often show lack of human sensibility.

copyright 2007

Related stories: Eugene Ejike Obiora, Motunrayo Oguntuase, Nigerian citizen gagged and killed by Spain | Nigerian Village Square

posted 20 June 2007

Hakeem Babalola is currently teaching English Communication in Budapest, Hungary. He loves writing, a vehicle by which he rides to relieve himself of certain emotions. His articles have appeared in Nigerian newspapers including Nigerian Tribune, Daily Champion, Vanguard, Daily Trust respectively. He is also a contributor to several online magazines like,, voiceofnigerians and a host of others. Hakeem is a member of Association of Hungarian Journalists.  

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Escape from Slavery: The True Story  (Francis Bok) / Slave: My True Story (Mende Nazer)


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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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Home Transitional Writings on Africa   The African World

Related files: The Second Slavery Ship  Living with Immigration Torture   A Nightclub Forbidden to African  Nigerians Blood on their Hands  Gambian Godfather  They Make Me Hate My Type   Life as African Hungarian 

African Hungarian Union   Oil Wars in the Niger Delta  Africa: 50 Years of Independence   Libya: The Return of Colonialist Bondage  Subsidising, Fraud, Lies, and Blood