BY Tony Edike
ENUGU – No fewer than 300 Nigerians living in the Republic of Botswana have been deported home by Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s administration in the past few months, after the authorities refused to renew their permits.
The angry deportees want President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to quickly look into the relations between Bostwana and Nigeria in order to ascertain the true conditions of Nigerians living in that country.
The returnees, most of whom had lived and worked in the Southern African country, said since the assumption of General Khama, whose mother was of British origin, Nigerians in that country had been subjected to dehumanising conditions and racial abuse, even when, they claimed, they had been law-abiding and of good behavior.
Alleging that the target of the Khama government had been how to get rid of innocent Nigerians pursuing a just course or doing genuine businesses in the country, they claimed that all their efforts to make the Bostwana authorities understand that they were peace-loving and not interested in criminal activities fell on deaf ears as they were only interested in sending them out without any reason.
Speaking with Vanguard on the ordeals of Nigerians in the hands of the Botswana officials, Mr. Kingsley Ndubuisi from Anambra State, who returned to the country without his belongings in September, this year, said all Nigerians whose permits expired were forcefully deported, leaving their property, wives and children behind.
The most annoying of all the troubles Nigerians are facing in that country accoprding to him, is the incessant stamping of, PI, meaning Prohibited Immigrant on the passport of Nigerian nationales by the Bostwana authorities; the implication is that such a person cannot enter Bostwana again, according to Ndubuisi.
He said some of the victims of the “flush Nigerians policy” are well trained Nigerian doctors, pharmacists and businessmen such as Chinaenye Uzoho, Chinonso Opara, Dr. Henry,Vitus Kingsley Ikekwem, Chika Uzo, among others.
Ndubuisi claimed that all these Nigerians were escorted to the airport in handcuff and leg chains like notorious criminals. “There is also a pharmacist who live in Phikwe married to a Botswana citizen; he was also given Prohibited Immigrant, PI, and he is still waiting in detention for his deportation,” Ndubuisi alleged.
The returnee said he regretted that while Nigerians were being ill-treated and enied vital resident and travel documents by the Bostwana authoritities, ironically, Nigerian government was issuing travel documents to Bostwanas just for the asking of them.
“Nigerians are not given Bostwana visa , may be, one out of every 50,while Botswanas who get Nigerian visa every week is not less than 50. Check the Lagos international Airport for your record,” he said.
He alleged that the Nigerian Embassy in that country was aware of all the happenings but was doing little or nothing about the embarrassing situation, adding that except one Mallam Musa, a consulor in the embassy, who speaks often intervens on behalf of Nigerians in critical issues, the ambassador was hardly accessible, and could not do anything.
Ndubuisi alleged that during President Jonathan’s recent visit to that country, a female official attached to the Nigerian embassy warned Nigerians there not to tell the president that Nigerians’ resident permits were cancelled while they were given 30 days to leave the country, not minding their investments, families and children’s education there.
Efforts to speak with the Botswana consulate at Abuja on the issue proved abortive as officials of the embassy declined comments.