Saturday, 3 April 2021

“So I got deported today. Mostly because I am black but also because I am Nigerian” – Lady shares her experience at the hands of Cape Verdean authorities.

 A Nigerian lady has claimed she and others were deported from Cape Verde by the authorities because they are black and were carrying a passport from an African country.

Twitter user, @Aloinett revealed that all the white people who arrived Praia airport with them were allowed in including a black friend with an American passport.

Her post reads ;

So I got deported today. Mostly because I am black but also because I am Nigerian. I got on a flight to Praia, #CapeVerde from Dakar, Senegal but have now been sent back to Dakar. 

Everything was fine until we got to the airport in Praia. Then some of us were pulled aside because we were there to visit. This group included an Italian couple, my Sudanese-American friend, a Spanish couple, a Kenyan, an Ivorian, a Jordanian, a Guinean and four Nigerians.

All of the white people were allowed to go through as well as my black friend with an American passport. Then some woman came and snatched the passports from the rest of us without any explanation. Another guy came and told us that they were sending us back.

Why? That we were not allowed to visit because of COVID. Then we asked why the white people and my American friend were let through. They said they decided who could stay and who could go. So everyone with a Western passport went through. In West Africa. In #CapeVerde.

I guess the first sign that something was off was when my AirBnB host asked my nationality then told me to come with some evidence of funds if I was traveling with a Nigerian passport. Funny thing is the only thing they looked at were our passports. Didn’t ask for anything else.

The only non-black person that was deported with us, a Jordanian, thinks he was lumped with us because he has Nigerian visas in his passport. Before we left this morning, my American friend was joking about her passport privilege. Who knew we were about to learn how true it was.

Anyway, we’re still at the airport waiting for our passports like criminals. Glad for the experience because pushing for ECOWAS is one thing, and seeing the reality of integration is another. I just wanted to check Cape Verde off my West Africa list and happy to stay in Dakar.

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends that have been unsuccessfully trying to convince me to “get a second passport”. So this was a stark reminder about the reality of being a Nigerian in the world and in Africa. Good bye #CapeVerde. Shame on you.

We’re learning from Dakar Airport officials that this has been a regular occurrence with @FlyAirSenegal and Cape Verde. They sell tickets everyday and return people everyday. The officials complained that Cape Verde is particularly problematic.

Also, dealing with Senegalese officials was so much better than the rudeness of the ones we met in Cape Verde. Made us feel like human beings and tried their best to help. They were empathetic and sped up the process of returning our passports. New appreciation for #Teranga.

Way forward – 1) @FlyAirSenegal must provide sufficient warning about the “regulations” in Praia. 2) Cape Verdian authorities should not be allowed to apply rules selectively based on race and passports. They were not shy about it and it’s not okay.

And to everyone asking, we’re fine. On our way home. I’ve always said that I won’t stay anywhere I’m not welcome. So as soon as they said they were sending us back, I erased Cape Verde from my mind. Will never beg anyone to let me in their country. Let’s all try to do better.

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