According to the information displayed on the Nigerian Embassy website in
, with the headline “VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE!” the embassy introduced awkward new commercial telephone numbers of the embassy beginning with ‘0900’. These new telephone lines are awfully exploitive, inconsiderate and a national embarrassment as an oil producing country. Vienna
Since early this year, if one is looking for Nigerian visa or has got passport related issues in Austria, one must call this number “0900 370 123” and will be charged €1.80 per minute (about N300 - N400.00 Nigerian money), and on administrative issues one must call “0820901269” at the cost of €0.80 cent per minute if one is calling from landline otherwise the cost to both numbers could be more. The situation should not be different in other countries. As at the time of writing this article, the above figures were displayed on the embassy website in
, but let nobody be surprised if it changes to another figure because it has happened several times. Vienna
, these types of numbers are purely commercial business lines and also very similar to prostitutes' numbers. Thus, Nigerian Embassy telephone lines have gone commercial, even when you want to make inquiries, you call and you pay like the trade of harlots through telephone calls. This policy perhaps became imperative because the government could no longer afford to pay the salaries of the embassy workers when due and also maintain other administrative costs without struggling. Austria
"Why is it that our leaders are so
insensitive to our complaints and
the pains we are going through?
Most policies of Nigerian
embassies are always based on
how to get money from Nigerians."
When I heard the unfortunate news, I felt so sad and went to the Nigerian embassy to find out the true situation of things. Alas! I was officially told that it was an order from the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that somebody had come from Abuja and had made sure that the lines had been installed and had left to other European countries with the same mission because it was a policy not only for the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria but for all the Nigerian embassies across the globe.
Unable to comprehend the reason why a country so naturally rich and producing billions of barrel of crude oil every day should come up with this kind of inconsiderate and hungry policy, I called a few embassies in Europe and America of smaller African countries whose national budgets may not be up to one month revenue generated in Lagos State, and surprisingly none had this kind of uncaring policies, I wept. I wept because I rhetorically asked, why in most cases
was first in this kind of harsh policies but lacking behind most times when it mattered most. Nigeria
I said so because self-acclaimed giant of Africa not long ago told Nigerians in Diaspora through the National Assembly that Nigeria was not yet ripe for Diaspora voting citing logistic problems and money as the reasons. But the law makers have continued indiscriminately to promulgate laws that increase their income and allowances to millions that have ensured that their individual monthly salaries are more than that of President Barrak Obama of the
as reported in some Nigerian print media houses. USA
"Before one starts the usual song of ‘crucify Jesus
and give us Barnabas-kill Uzoma, kill Uzoma’,
how will one judge the current exploitation of so
many helpless Nigerians at the Nigerian Embassy
?" Vienna, Austria
If smaller African poor countries have managed to run their embassies without imposing this kind of embarrassing and uncaring policy, why must the giant of Africa,
do so? Does it mean that Nigeria 's government cannot successfully run their embassies without Nigerians gnashing their teeth in agony and regret? Is Nigeria a poor country? Senate President David Mark while reacting on the floor of the Senate about the shabby ways Nigerians are treated by their host countries abroad and the ill equipped Nigerian missions and the attitude of their staffs, said, “We should have our missions well-funded. We say we are the giant of Nigeria Africa but if you can’t fund missions, you are not. The attitude of members of staff of our missions abroad is not the best. Their first reaction is to defend our country. Our mission staffs need to change their attitude.” As much as one could rightly guess the disappointing tone of the number three citizen of the federal on these issues, but one thing is very clear, history will never exonerate him from the cries of Nigerians as one that has been active at the forefront of Nigerian politics for decades. Republic of Nigeria
Why is it that our leaders are so insensitive to our complaints and the pains we are going through? Most policies of Nigerian embassies are always based on how to get money from Nigerians. From confirmation of names given to new born babies, driving licences or stamp on any document for authentication and even in their own failures like the non availability of ECOWAS passport that has kept many Nigerians as prisoners in many countries Nigerians are callously forced to pay heavily in tears like it is in Vienna. Why? But when a Nigerian has a problem one will see them playing hide and seek or a popular children game in
that goes like this, "Copyyyy oh yes". Nigeria
"As a matter of fairness I appeal that those
Nigerians that have already paid this €50
should be called by the embassy and given
back their money and those that are yet to
take their passports should collect them
without a further €50 toll gate fee."
Before one starts the usual song of ‘crucify Jesus and give us Barnabas-kill Uzoma, kill Uzoma’, how will one judge the current exploitation of so many helpless Nigerians at the Nigerian Embassy in
? Vienna, Austria
In a state where so many Nigerians had applied and paid for international passports at the embassy in Vienna and had endlessly waited for the past one, two or three year/s (as it may apply to individuals) with stories from the embassy officials that this had been as a result of the non availability of a passport printing machine, some of the affected people who could no longer wait in the status of ‘Open prison’ they were confined to were inconsiderably charged extra €25 (around N500) before they were given an ordinary letter by the embassy that enabled them process their passports in another country like Italy or Germany where these printing machines were operational. Please, Ambassador Gbenga, were these exploitations fair?
Now there is a passport printing machine at the embassy here in Vienna, again these same patient Nigerians that completed all what had been required from them to get their passports about three years ago are again compulsorily extorted €50 through an institutionalised system by the embassy in the name of administration fee before they can be allowed to have their passports. Please Ambassador Gbenga, is this fair? Please, is it fair, is it fair? This process of exploitation and oppression against Nigerians through policies should please be halted. We are human beings and deserve to be treated with feelings. I have never heard of this kind of policy somewhere else in my whole life.
These Nigerians ought to be given their passports with apologies and without any demand of cash and harassments or insults in any form. As a matter of fairness I appeal that those Nigerians that have already paid this €50 should be called by the embassy and given back their money and those that are yet to take their passports should collect them without a further €50 toll gate fee. For God's sake, is
Nigeria not the giant of Africa?
Uzoma Ahamefule, a concerned patriotic citizen writes from