Why Not Take Your Wife To Nigeria, Instead Of Polluting Our Country?

by Segun Akinyode

I got to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the morning of December, 30, 2006 having left Murtala Mohammed International Airport the previous night. I was on a leave of absence from my teaching appointment at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. I got a pleasant thrill from the cold Nairobi weather, something I had experienced on my previous visit and prepared for.

My wife was at the airport to take me home. Meanwhile, I was issued a three month visiting visa at the Kenyan Embassy in Lagos which made it impossible for me to purchase a returning ticket commensurable to the one year leave of absence I was granted by the polytechnic authorities. What the personnel at the travel agency I was unfortunate to buy my flight ticket from assured me was that I could extend my visa at the immigration office in Nairobi, and my flight ticket at Kenya Airways office in Nairobi. In consonance with their assurance, I went to the immigration department three days to the expiration of my three-month visa to request for an extension.

Thus early in the morning of March 25, 2007, I arrived the department of alien immigration in Nairobi (the building is called Nyayo House) and queued with other immigrants with similar request. I can recollect vividly that I stood behind four other immigrants—two Asians, one Canadian and one American. The clerk behind the counter swiftly dealt with the three aliens—she examined their passports and asked them to fill forms and pay certain amount of money, their fingerprints taken, after which their passports were returned to them, they were instructed to come back in three weeks for their alien cards. The whole process did not take more than thirty minutes.

When it was my turn, the lady collected my passport, took one bewildered look at it and asked me to report to one Mr. Wanda on the seventh floor. I stood on the spot for seconds frowning. After a while, I shrugged and went to the lift. Mr. Wanda was not in the office; I waited at his door. About an hour later, an immigration officer asked for my mission I told him I was waiting for Mr. Wanda. He advised me to come back the following day as he was not sure Mr. Wanda would be coming to the office that day.

I was there the following day. Mr. Wanda was yet to arrive. I was chatting with one of the junior officers at the counter when a woman who later turned out to be a senior immigration officer arrived and asked my mission. I told her I was waiting for Mr Wanda. She informed me pointedly that Mr. Wanda would not be reporting for work that day. She demanded my specific mission. I told her that I wanted my visa extended and the lady behind the counter at the ground floor asked me to see Mr. Wanda. She frowned, thrust his palm forward, ‘Let me see your passport.’ I gave it to her. A mild exclamation. The following conversation ensued:

‘What are you doing in Kenya?’

‘I am on a leave of absence which I am spending with my wife.’

‘You are married to a Kenyan?’

I nodded.

She looked at me pointedly and said there was no way I could be allowed to stay more than the three months I had spent. She advised me to go and buy my flight ticket; she would allow me to spend one more week in Nairobi.

‘But I am here with my wife.’ I shouted.

‘It does not matter. Why not take your wife to Nigeria instead of polluting our country.’

I was flummoxed. ‘Polluting your country?’ I retorted. She ignored me and said, ‘The best you can expect apart from what I suggested is to wait for Mr. Wanda; he will be in the office tomorrow morning.’

‘Okay.’ I said, collected my passport and sauntered out of her cubicle of an office, reflecting.

By nine the following morning, I was at Mr. Wanda’s office. He was available. I met him writing a memo. Curiosity, that proverbial instinct that killed the cat took control of me. I stretched my long neck and peeped at what Mr. Wanda was writing and caught a hazy picture of his designation: he was a principal assistant controller of immigration or something similar to that. My curiosity heightened: why am I referred to such a top-notch for a simple immigration matter, something a common clerk handles for other nationals?

‘Can I be of any assistance?’ The question cut through my thoughts. I managed a smile to camouflage my bafflement. I stammered a response, ‘I was asked to come and see you. I need to extend my visa.’

‘Let me see your passport.’

I handed the document over. He collected it, looked at the cover and sighed, ‘Nigerian.’

After he had read the visa pages he asked me what I have been doing in Kenya in the last three months. I told him that I had been visiting my wife.

‘Just that?’ he frowned.

‘Visiting my wife who I had left in the last two years is not enough reason?’

‘If you were a Kenyan and your wife, a Nigerian, it would have been okay but the way it is, now…Kenyan immigration laws do not recognize your kind of union.’

Thoroughly perplexed, I appraised Mr. Wanda curiously. ‘I am also researching a story I am writing about Nigeria and Kenya.’

He looked at me sharply. His countenance relaxing into a pleasant grin, ‘What do the two countries have in common?’

I brightened up and regaled him with a bit of my findings. He looked at me nonplussed and nodded. ‘I agree with some of your comparisons’ he said as he extracted a piece of paper and scribbled on it. He tucked the paper in the pages of my passport and handed it over to me with instructions to take the passport back to the immigration office on the ground floor where I would be attended to. I did as Mr. Wanda said but instead of my visa extension signed at the ground floor, I was asked to take it back to the seventh floor, to Mr. Wanda for his signature! What is so special about extending a Nigerian visa?

I knocked the door and entered. He collected my passport and countersigned the visa page. He then plucked a giant iron stamp from a rack and stomped my passport with it. ‘Why is Nigeria this special?’ I asked under my breath.

Mr. Wanda smiled, ‘very special,’ he corroborated ignoring my question. I collected my passport and, as I was leaving, he said, ‘Your extended visa expires on June 29, by June 28 you should disappear from Kenya.’

I paused at the door, turned my head and looked at him pensively for a long moment. He met my gaze with an unflinching intent. I nodded and left.

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Okanlawon January 14, 2011 - 10:36 pm

Do i say the Kenyan’s are trying to keep their women on the safer side from the hands of foreigners,regardless you are from another African country or not. But nothwitstanding, Immigrants should be treated warmly and not scolded with such words as

“polluting their country”. It’s embarrasing.! What is it about kenya….?

To be frank, we Nigerians should try also to portrait good images for ourselves and the country, for it “speaks ahead” of us,everywhere,every time. So sorry,Mr Segun Akinyode. GOD BLESS NIGERIA,GOD BLESS MAPOLY,GOD BLESS ESTATE MANAGEMENT (The Surveyors).

Kayode Kemiki January 14, 2011 - 8:50 am

i just came across this remission; i think it”s a shame on us all Africans because we still operate as if we are the Whites’ colonial rule that we made them to be Our small god forgeting the fact we’ve gained Independence from them. Thank You

Truth October 21, 2010 - 11:34 am

Nigerians should stop the nonsense of putting down their country, especially when they are abroad. I live in Canada and I am sick and tired of meeting other Nigerians who love to insult and reduce their own country, when they first meet you. People are often ready to respect you as a Nigerian, but other disgruntled Nigerians( mostly from a certain ethnic background which I will not mention) make it a career to speak negatively of Nigeria, and create a lot of unfounded lies which causes people to suddenly disrespect you when they hear you are a Nigerian. Everyone knows the Kenyans have serious slavery mentality and Big inferiority complex(especially when they see white people.) But anyways I think one solution to the Nigerian problem will be to stop dual citizenship so that when you are Nigerian, you will appreciate Nigeria more and stop putting it down since it will be the only country you have.

mcee March 28, 2010 - 9:51 am

I’m so disappointed…even whites in America and Europe and even some Asians don’t treat Nigerians like this…i have traveled to several countries and i have never been humiliated like this…i mean you are married to Kenyan and yet they treated you like this…this is simply wrong and i will never set my foot in Kenya…what the hell is there anyway…I’m highly disappointed…Nigerians keep away from Kenya…simple…it’s unfortunate Segun that you are married to a Kenyan.

annonymous September 10, 2009 - 8:20 pm

Its high time our beloved Nigerian community should realize that criminality is disgusting … not only to kenyans but to the whole community of the four continents of the world. Be smart guys . you will be treated smart!

Tunde Oni March 17, 2009 - 5:16 pm

This is dehumanising, but my lecturer has leant his lessons.

PATRICK September 18, 2008 - 4:46 pm

Can you b/lieve that crap? I am a nigerian i live in the us, i dated a kenyan lady she talks highly of her society, but never a thing like this it is a shame..perhaps the guy/and the lady were looking for a bribe ..yes bribe that 's what this is all about..what a shame!!!!

ben August 10, 2008 - 12:50 am

i really dont know wat to say!im so disappointed that black will act so weird to fellow blacks,this is crazy!

catheri June 22, 2008 - 4:59 pm

i am a white amercan who is married to a nigerian. my hasband is treated far better in america then i am in nigeria. please check your facts and base you opinions on facts and not gossip. it is comments like yours who give africans a poor reputation.

Pea May 9, 2008 - 7:21 pm

As a Kenyan I have to say I am very, very disappointed to read that the immigration office treats Africans this way. I agree with Michael; the template is the same in every country except the West where they have the good sense to treat their citizens with honor and respect.

S.Brown March 30, 2008 - 9:27 pm

Habu U hit the nail on the head it is time for Nigerians world-wide to return & stay home & make it work we are more than blessed with super talents that’s why we are the envy of those folks in Kenya . I really do pity an African who maltreats a fellow African he or she has got a very long way to go so forgive thier ignorance

S.Brown March 30, 2008 - 9:20 pm

Africans are the problems of Africans it’s about time we realise that we are hated worldwide & unite in our quest for survival. Let’s stop this foolishness it will only lead to a dead end.My Nigerian brother take heart if u had married Ur country lady U will not be insulted. The truth is that the europeans,asians & Americans treat Africans alike overseas so ask Ur Kenyan friends to try European immigration they will learn that they are not different from any other AFRICAN especially with thier accent

cherry February 13, 2008 - 9:57 am

no wonder u are strict.i do appreciate ur lectures in class anyway.so wen is madam comin back, ojere girls are terrible.i kno some of dem cherishes wat she has.thank god u are nt lyk the lyks of wasiu and co who cant keep their zippers closed.shes lucky 2 av a faithful man lyk urs.

michael November 6, 2007 - 9:07 pm

Segu was mitstreated by the immigration officials in Kenya,very sad indeed but not to give undue alarm to such a situation that is all but uncommon all over: Africa Asia US etc.Its nothing personal to a particular group of people,similar situation is replicated in SA,Libya Egypt, North carolina,Tokyo chechnya etc.If you have an open mind hate will fly out malice will not hang around, in otherward:Kenyans this Indians that doesnt contribute to much good

Tootsie June 17, 2007 - 7:55 pm

This is really sad and perturbing at the same time. I never would even consider visiting any other African country. It is incredible that a country like Kenya, that is unfit to even untie the lace of Nigeria, if it were a tennis shoe, will address any Nigerian disdainfully. I agree that some Nigerians try a little too hard but at the same time not all are that bad. I guess this can be likened to a case where a rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.

Michael June 15, 2007 - 2:26 pm

Mr. Akinyode's experience is such an eye opener to the damage that's been done to our collective psyche.

I wonder how the Kenyans and other Africans for that matter portray Nigerians to the "tourists" in their country?

olanipekun biodun June 6, 2007 - 10:22 am

such an article when read could bring a positive change when neccessary for as a nigerian i felt very bad about other people impression about us we realy need to improve on our intengrity i personl experience simlar thing when i went Paris in France late 2006. thank you keep it up.

Lateef Odusanya May 31, 2007 - 1:11 pm


Eloquent as ever. Just came across this article during one of those days at work, having time on my hand decided to read some blogs written by 'giddies' and just stumbled on yours.

Anyway, perhaps its fortuious that we meet again this way. Its ''Omo-Alhaja'' from Ogun State University days, Sodipo Hall. And how is your paddy 'Alhaji' remeber?.

I am now based in the UK, and will like to hear from you. My email address has been forwarded with this texts. ola_odusanya@yahoo.ca

drajileye@hotmail.com May 31, 2007 - 10:26 am

so much for our african union. I think based on this real life story of a fellow african's maltreatment, we should be looking at the content of the african integration aggreement and AU policy. It can never happen to an EU citizen, no matter how lowly the country is. I am appalled by this story. i think the Kenyan government and the AU leadership should be made aware of this. Nigeria is greater than any of these countries by any standard. Please copy this letter with a rejoinder and protest addressed to the attention of the AU president.

julie mwaluma May 31, 2007 - 4:27 am

As a Kenya I am ashamed to the core. It not only happening here in Kenya but in Africa that is the order of the day – mistreating fellow Africans. the white skin is more respected in Africa than the black skin. Even African Americans discrimate Africans than white do in America. It is a pitty but change is not in this century.

Rosie May 30, 2007 - 4:10 pm

I have a Kenyan friend who does not think too much of Nigerians. He said Kenyans had the perfect immigration policy – they were able to travel to Britain and other western countries until Nigerians got in the game and falsified passports claiming to be Kenyan. It has been down hill from there. It is amazing though because the feeling is mutual. A friend of mine was offered marriage by a Kenyan man. When she told her friends and family, those that did not laugh in her face said, "over my dead body."

Anonymous May 29, 2007 - 7:14 pm

The colonial mentality is rampant everywhere in Africa-including our beloved naija! Just last summer, I was waiting for the porter at Transcorp to take my luggage outside, what did he do? sidetracked me and attended to a white man that came after me. And there were many instances where this happened- locals will give better treatment to foreigners than their own country-folk. The best cure for this colonization is to ship them abroad for 3months!!! When they see how the West really think about blacks, their colonized mindset will revert to normal

Nancy May 29, 2007 - 4:45 pm

This article tells volumes about the bad reputation created by Nigerians for their countrymen. Talking about colonial mentalities will not solve this big problem.

I agree that it is unfair, but Nigerians must take control of their reality, and discourage other Nigerians who go out and give the country a bad name. People are responding to their experiences, and they are not good. Who will one blame?

obi, USA May 29, 2007 - 2:05 pm

We have ourselves to blame for our fate. People didn't treat us this bad in the past. It's just not the fault of the few bad eggs. Our fat, corrupt leadership doesn't care about its citizens, until the president's family or friends are assaulted. We need to change the focus of foreign policies. We can't go on sacrificing our human capital and natural resources to prop up these yeye African brothers, only to be treated like fools over and over again. This story would be good for the newapapers. We may even initiate an online petition to be presented to the new minister of foreign affairs. The least we can do for our so-called brothers and other nationals is to subject them to the same standard they hold us to.

Julius May 29, 2007 - 10:54 am

Mr. Akinyade, I had something close to that experience in Kenya in 2004 on my way to the US, I got a rough deal from a security agent who in the process of checking the originality of my passport and visa almost tore it into two, and when I told him to take it easy he responded he was going to deal with me, and asked me to step off the line. I kept my cool while he together with his colleagues were apparently saying stuff about Nigeria. When he finally gave me my passport he told me I should get out of their country, I was only passing through anyway, Kenya is the last place I want to stay at. We've suffered humiliation because of our citizenship, the truth is even in Nigeria people still suffer because of their ethinic affiliation. There is too much discrimination both within and without, and there is really no end in sight. The green passport is a liability once you step out of nigeria.

Anonymous May 29, 2007 - 8:59 am

Maybe Mr Akinyade should do as suggested and bring his wife to Naija (The giant of Africa). We are the ones that insult ourselves by deciding to spend time in countries that insist on retaining the colonial mentality!!!

Anonymous May 29, 2007 - 8:22 am

I am Kenyan and this stuff happens all the time. Kenyans are still sucking up to the white man and the indians that undermine them in their own country. One time I had gone to the same immigration office to extend my passport and this stupid indian woman decides she is going to cut the line and push her papers through. I was so livid, went straight to the cahier and told her if you are going to take this womans papers you will have to deal with my case first, seeing that the other Kenyans in the long line did not mind this indian woman cutting corners. I raised my voice, she told me to go back to America and I told her unfortunatley for her I was kenyan and she is the one that needs to go back to India! Just plain stupid if you ask me. Kenyans need to wake up!

Anonymous May 29, 2007 - 7:18 am

This just shows that some of the actions of a few criminals affect the majority.

Anonymous May 29, 2007 - 4:47 am

As a Kenyan, I am ashamed!

tennis55_2@hotmail.com May 28, 2007 - 11:47 pm

The west for centuries has found many ways to dehumanise black race. Now, within the black race, Kenyans for instance have found and or copying from the west to lower our self-esteem, what a caword move by the Kenya immigration officer(s) toyed around with Mr. Segun Akinyode for visiting so called-Kenya? Mr. Wanda was very lucky, if I was Mr. Akinyade, I would have slap his face for questioning with dehumanity. Poor leadership in Nigeria is really promoting other nations and of all nations-kenyans looking down on Nigerian(s). A good lesson for all of us-Nigerians to stay home and make it work!

Anonymous May 28, 2007 - 7:43 pm

Imagine! Yeye Kenya for that matter! Chei! Nigerians we need to do something about this disgraceful treatment. Cant they be reported or something?

N. Owo May 28, 2007 - 7:43 pm

Perhaps its time Nigeria starts extending the same 'reception' to Kenyans!

Adams May 28, 2007 - 3:39 pm

This is preposterous!

Anonymous May 28, 2007 - 1:02 pm

That's ridiculus!Kenya of all country.


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