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UK VISA BOND: A price for migration and terrorism

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By Hugo Odiogor, Foreign Affairs Editor

When two Nigeria – born British citizens, Michael Adebolajo and Micheal Adebowale –  went on  celebratory murder of Lee Rigby, 25, a British soldier in Woolwich, southeast London on May 24, it was obvious that the conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron will hit back.

For a government that has witnessed massive street riots in April 2011, largely spearheaded by immigrants and irate youths, the horrifying daytime attack by the two Nigerians identified as local terrorists, armed with meat cleavers, was too much, given the discontent in Europe with multi-culturalism, a euphemism for xenophobia, but, more importantly, with Muslims who are easily picked out for acts of terrorism. The decision to introduce a visa bond of 3,000 pounds is nothing but a pay back for citizens of Nigeria, Ghana, India and Pakistan who are known as high risk sources of immigration.

The two killers shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they went about their grisly crime and asked stunned passers-by take video of their act and blood dripped from their hands immediately after beheading the soldier.

The killers said their action was prompted by their desire to avenge the death of Muslims being killed in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa by western powers. Their action fitted perfectly into al-Qaeda philosophy of Jihad and ideology of hate which have provided the fuel for burning passion for suicide bombings, terrorist attacks on Christians and Jews who are blamed for the actions of western governments in many troubled spots around the world.

They told television cameras at the scene of the crime: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day”. According to them, “ this British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

File: London Police
File: Policemen in London

One of them declared: “We apologise that women had to see this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don’t care about you”

Global politics
Migration and terrorism have therefore become the hottest socio-political issues in global politics in majority of the destination countries of Europe and the United States. There have been serious efforts to control the demographic trends and shifts especially in the face of dire economic circumstances in western economies. But this is only a futile effort given the close socio – cultural and historical links between Europe, Africa and the Arab world dating back to 700 AD. There have been wide spread process of alienation, rejection that have been instituted by the welfare system in Britain and other European nations and there have equally been a systematic process of rebellion by the disposed minority groups.

The British Home Office, which proposed the 3,000 pounds visa bond had cited the need to deter travellers to the UK from overstaying their visa permit during their tour.

It also said the move will take care of the cost of deportation of people who overstay their visa as well as pay for the cost of over using British social facilities during their visit. Interestingly, the countries targetted by this proposed visa policy are citizens of countries that hail from the former British colonies who now belong to the Commonwealth nations, a glorified club of leaders of old British empire Since the conservative government of the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher introduced visa for Commonwealth countries, in 1987, Nigerians have been among the worst hit as the citizens of the most populous black country on earth are compulsive travellers and majority of them head to the UK in search of knowledge and jobs.

The situation has been made worse since the turn of the century with the rise in Islamic restiveness across the world. This has led to upsurge in acts of terrorist attacks on nationals that are seen as not liberal democracies as citizens of such countries have become targets of Islamic-inspired Jihad.

There have been gradual and open reaction to what has become growing threat to national security of the countries where Islamic extremists have gained remarkable ground.

There have been back lash from right wing politicians and groups that have been gaining votes from their tough anti-immigration policies. It is therefore expected that the Cameron administration in White Hall would take drastic measures to deal with what is seen as the invasion of foreigners in the UK.

Nigeria has threatened to react to the proposed visa bond policy but what the British political establishment has failed to reward is the huge success that their country has derived from the sweat of immigrants. Barrister Mc Anthony Ndukaeze, an immigration attorney, told Sunday Vanguard that immigrants especially Nigerians with British citizenship, were responsible for the huge success which Britain recorded at the London Olympics.

Renowned scholar on migration, Prof. Aderanti Adepoju, is of the view that politicians who want to win votes often play up the negative side of migration and the activities of immigrants. The action of terrorists, especially foreigners, has often attracted more negative reaction from citizens of the host country.

Adepoju insists that migration is not the problem of many countries that latch on it to impose stringent policies on their visa entry requirements as we can see with the proposed UK visa bond.

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