Last week, we woke up to news of threats of a U.K./U.S. visa ban on politicians who carry out anti-democratic activities during the Nigerian general elections. The tone of the ‘warning’ was rather condescending and had the familiar racist undertones each time the West is dishing out ‘warnings’ to Africa. And as expected, many Nigerians felt outraged by this. The West clearly understands that our political elite cannot survive without them and the only way to get them to behave is through visa sanctions; through denying them the opportunity to enjoy, in the West, what they’ve deprived their own citizens back ‘home’ in Africa.
On my part, I believe it is perfectly normal for a country to deny a citizen of another country entry visa into their country. The U.S.A. at one point banned the current Indian Prime Minister from entering their country for his role in the Gujarati Massacre in India. The ban was only uplifted after he became Prime Minister. I don’t think Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan is free to roam the earth as he pleases, either and there was also petition in the U.K. not too long ago to ban Donald Trump from entering the country. The topic was debated in parliament and it was agreed that he be let in.
So, although, the threats came across as very disrespectful, a country has the right to accept or decline visa applications of citizens of other countries.
Nigeria is also free to deny someone an entry visa if it finds them unsuitable. For example, when that American woman came to Nigeria to promote skin lightening products, Nigeria could have turned down her visa application if it wanted to. Also, several African countries could issue statements threatening to ban known racists (from Europe, Australia, Canada and America) from entering their countries. These things can and should be done. The U.S.A. and U.K. “hates” election rigging (we all know that’s a lie) and have threatened politicians who partake in it with visa-bans. We also hate racists and can decide to start banning them from coming to Africa. The problem is that most of the people who are supposed to be making these laws and helping build a country fit for humans aren’t properly switched on. Like I pointed out last week, the African elite would struggle to survive without the West, so, don’t be surprised if some influential and powerful politicians behave themselves and stay clear of rigging and violence this election.
Looking beyond the disrespect and casual arrogance we regularly get from the West. A visa-ban on our senior politicians might not be that bad after all. Imagine how developed your state could become if your governor is on a ten-year U.S.A./U.K. visa ban. Imagine how well Nigeria will improve if many of our senior ministers were also on the ban list. Then imagine if India, UAE, the EU nation states, China and Russia join this list. Very unlikely, I know, but wouldn’t this be a good thing for Nigeria? There would be no place for them to go to for health tourism, therefore, the healthcare system might improve. Electricity and transportation might also get better since they will be spending more time in Nigeria — with you.
So, banning them from visiting the so-called developed countries might actually be great news for the common man.
Suleiman Ahmed, a Software Engineer and Writer, is the author of “Trouble in Valhalla”. He tweets from @sule365.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of Nigerian Diary