In the wake of the outbreak of Omicron a new variant of COVID-19, some countries including Britain, Canada and Saudi Arabia decided to list Nigeria among the red list of countries that they deemed their citizens should be denied entry on account of unsubstantiated evidence of the presence of the pandemic.
As was reported globally, it was South African scientists who discovered the existence of the variant of the COVID-19 in their country and were honest enough to share their findings with the world. South Africa’s honesty contrasts with the Netherlands where it was later discovered had actually hidden to the world the existence of Omicron until it became implausible to continue to hide this fact.
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Britain was first off the block in this unwholesome act against Nigeria. This country which has the slovenly mop of dishevelled hair called Boris Johnson as its Prime Minister decided to list Nigeria not because of any concrete evidence that Nigerians in their droves had caught the Omicron, but because in their warped thinking, if it is found in South Africa, then it must be in Nigeria. And of course even with the glaring evidence that the three persons that were found to have caught the Omicron came into Nigeria from abroad, Britain went ahead to slam its doors shut on Nigerians.
And the most galling part of Britain’s despicable action was to say that only Nigerians resident or those with British nationality coming from Nigeria will be allowed into Britain. Nigerians like you and me are out.
I really thought somebody in Whitehall should have seen the stupidity in this selective and inexplicably discriminative policy before it was rolled out to save Albion from avoidable embarrassment. But racism especially with the little Englanders now in power in that Island is second nature to Britain and they cannot pass off an opportunity to exhibit their usual.
Canada is an oddball. For some time this boring country of lumberjacks has tended to assume a position of unearned morality on global issues. Steeped in inferiority complex against its giant neighbour to the south, Canada whose history is replete with genocide against its aboriginal inhabitants the Inuits, who it had driven to the frozen wastelands of Saskatchewan, dares to lecture other countries on the finer points of democracy and morality. You are sure to find Canada talking loudly about human rights issues all intended to keep up with the Joneses because in global heavy lifting nobody gives a piss about this huge but nondescript mostly empty country. So the Canucks are always out there on the starting blocks on these sort of issues even when all Canada can do in this regard amounts to a fart in a windstorm.
And then the largely desert country of Saudi Arabia. You want to ask yourself ‘’what is their own’’ as we say in Nigerian parlance. On account of the unsubstantiated evidence they too slammed the door shut on thousands of Nigerians who had paid to perform the lesser pilgrimage of Umrah.
Dubai, that city that can conveniently be tucked into the FCT Abuja several times over is arm-wrestling us over flights. It wants to fly into Nigeria 21 times in a week but cannot give Nigeria just three slots. On a day, more than 2,000 Nigerians fly into Dubai directly through not just the city’s carrier Emirates, but also through a number of airlines on connecting flight. Your guess is as good as mine how much that is in terms of revenue through flights, hotel accommodation, purchases etc. Yet they dare give us the middle finger salute when we decided to ask for our reciprocal rights.
The other day in Lome, Togo airport security officials were seen dragging Nigerians on the floor. Their offence was demanding their rights after a Togo-based airline abandoned them without explanation.
So why is every two bit country in the world queuing up to kick Nigeria and Nigerians in the butt and hope to get away with it?
The problem really is with us. For a country that is richer in resources than Britain, France, and Germany put together, we are not pulling the weight that we are supposed to. We tend to think too little of ourselves and indeed defer unnecessarily to other countries where we should be more assertive for a country that is the most populous and resource endowed on the African continent. Because we hate and are more ready to make enemies of ourselves than collectively band together and face the world; we allow other countries to come here and help themselves to our resources on their own terms just for a mess of pottage when we should be the ones dictating the terms for those who come here to reap from us.
And this attitude is mostly exhibited by our elites against their foreign counterparts. It is nauseating to see our officials and elites not being able to stand point for point and argument for argument against visiting foreign delegations.
Our elites have developed a taste and penchant for residences and visitations to certain countries where they stash their loot such that they open themselves to financial and political blackmail. A mere threat of visa denial will find Nigerian elites shaking ‘’gbiri gbiri’’ and pledging to compromise their country so as to be allowed to go and escape the hell they have created in the country.
Knowing how exposed and easily malleable our elites are these countries who are versed in the nuances of international dark practices of course stick the knife into our officials and elites. And the result is what we see in the way everybody in the world takes Nigeria for granted.
Unless and until we learn to act in the way that is commensurate with our status countries of the world will continue to treat us with contempt even as they know that we are much more than what we have allowed ourselves to sink to.