“A country where death traps are called roads, incessant armed robbery/police attacks on hardworking individuals have become a way of life, and where constant power supply can not be guaranteed for 4 hours a day is not worth returning to…… not many citizens leaving abroad would proudly call a country with so much evil credentials home” – Chukwuemeka O.O
Before asking for the heads of Nigerians working abroad that dread returning home please take the courage to inculcate some decorum in the Nigerian police force, repair the death traps called roads, and advise the rogues called politicians to grow up. Nigerians leaving abroad wouldn’t ask for too much, they are not even asking for 24 hours power supply.
Helping to build ones county is a civic responsibility but not when you know that your life could be snuffed out by a trigger happy half educated police officer for a paltry 20 naira note or simply for driving an expensive car, and definitely not when you nurse the fear that an illiterate lorry driver who can not identify a stop road sign can run into you on the motorway and leave you paralysed.
Chukwuemeka left the shore of the country for greener pasture in Finland some 18 years a go; he worked hard, became successful, and married a finish woman. He never minced words about how much love he had for Nigeria his country of birth; he was always quick to tell everyone how he cherished returning home. He believed strongly that life abroad can never be compared to the freedom and wonderful relationships enjoyed back home.
He told his children several times how wonderful it will be for them to finally return to the country where their father came from. He told them about the natural Owu waterfalls, the Yankari game reserve and he didn’t also forget to tell them how unified the people are in diversity. His wife was fascinated with the fact that over 200 languages are spoken in one country.
Chukwuemeka’s experience on one of the Finish motorways was the last straw needed for him to finally return to Nigeria; he had been humiliated by a Finish transport police officer who did not only delay him to the extent that he missed picking his sons from school but dehumanised him in the name of routine stop and search. Just two weeks after the unimaginable motorway experience he received a mail that his two sons will be taken away from him by the social security department because he arrived two hours late at their school and for leaving them unattended for two hours, they therefore do not think he is capable of taking good care of the boys. The social department also wrote in their letter “on this occasion you will not be prosecuted because we have had no previous records of you abandoning your children”.
He thought there couldn’t be a better time to return to his beloved country, he therefore proudly decided to start planning his final return to Nigeria. It would be an understatement if one says his wife and children were in high spirits when he broke the news to them; they were so delighted and thought the relocation would be the best thing to have happened to the family at that time.
The news of their return soon got to his neighbours as his children announced it proudly at school. Before long, he put up his house for sale and because of the location the house was gone in just two weeks. The quick sale of the house exhilarated the family as delay in selling the house could have probably been the only setback to their dream of returning home and would have spelt doom for them.
His wife shopped for light clothing for the family while Chukwuemeka spent most of his time on the phone sealing the deal of a temporary duplex accommodation in the GRA area of Ikeja. Three days later they were received at the MM international airport by family and friends. The warm reception at the airport was a moment that will for long be treasured by the children and his wife. Chukwuemeka couldn’t be happier as he was proud to have his family warmly received by his people.
The wife was eager to explore Lagos, the populous city of aquatic splendour, so neither the obscenity of the rickety Molue buses nor the maddening scenes that characterise places like CMS, Ojuelegba, and Oshodi during peak hours come as a surprise to her and the children as Chukwuemeka had already prepared their minds well in advance. Two weeks after arriving in Nigeria their experience in the country was full of fun as everything was moving on well like the script from a movie until one Saturday night.
They had gone out to attend the birthday party of one of Chukwuemeka’s friends from university days, when they got back home they immediately retired to the bedroom while the children got busy with the Nintendo game in the living room. The bedroom door suddenly opened unusually and instantly without turning, with a tone heralding authority Chukwuemeka’s wife reminded the children the need to go to bed immediately when out of the blue a thunderous slap with deafening sound like thunder landed on her left cheek.
Chukwuemeka who was half asleep woke up terrified to find his two Sons escorted into the room with their wrists tied behind their back, behind them were three gun totting robbers who now ordered everyone in the room to go flat on the floor. The robbers took away all they had; money, clothes, and jewelleries. The armed robbers asked for their Finish passports, that was just the clue they needed to conclude that the robbery operation was an inside job with first hand information about them, but fortunately for the Finish returnees their passports where at the Malaysian embassy where they had applied for tourist Visas a day before.
The encounter with the armed robbers was so traumatic for the children that they remained awake for many nights; the children’s agony coupled with his wife’s pressure to return to Finland made Chukwuemeka’s decide it was time to go back to Finland with his family. On the night of departure, the children’s joy had no bound and as they travelled through Ikeja to the MM international airport their car was flagged down at a police check point just three miles away from the airport. They were immediately ordered out of the car to be identified. The leader of the uniformed men took Chukwuemeka into the police vehicle, showed him locally made short guns, and said “cooperate otherwise my boys will spray you all and brand you as escaping armed robbers”. Their four luggages which had their passports were taken away and never recovered.
The next day, they were at the Finish embassy for the travel documents that would enable them return to Helsinki. The visa officer told Chukwuemeka to go and retrieve the passports from whoever he sold them to. She said she had lost count of the number of Nigerians with the finish indefinite leave to remain who falsely declared their travel documents missing in recent times, but his wife was assured 24 hours safe return to Finland. She was also offered hotel accommodation pending when her Finish travel documents will be ready. She did not only turn down the offers but promised not to leave the premises of the embassy until her husband and two children are issued Finish travel documents.
The good news is that the four members of the family have since returned to Helsinki in one piece but not after the knife hedge battle with the finish embassy that lasted for 6 weeks. Chukwuemeka may have returned into the pain of an adopted country but it’s far better than the incessant pandemonium of his country of birth. His two children were so traumatised by the armed robbery experience that they had to undergo psychiatric treatment for two years.
Chukwuemeka has since given up on Nigeria and did strongly warned his wife and children who are now 16 and 19 not to bury him in Nigeria when he dies, he once jokingly said he would rise if his body is buried anywhere called Nigeria. He kept telling his friends that his body can be buried anywhere in the world but not in Nigeria – not even in the Nigerian waters.
That’s what I call the fury of a man whose country lost forever.