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Visa: Time To Go Shame Shopping

Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe writes that many Nigerians need to recover the sense of shame…

An image of a US Visa
An image of a US Visa

Sometime ago I heard a story of a Nigerian woman who had gone to the American Embassy in Abuja for a non-immigrant US visa.

During the interview, the consular officer asked her the dates of birth of her children. Madam gladly supplied the information without giving it a second thought.

Then, the consular officer patiently pointed out to her that the stated birthdays also coincided with the days when she was in the US.

And that if those were her children’s birthdays, it also meant that she had given birth to them in the US.

She further reminded her that her that the visas she received during those periods were tourist visas and didn’t qualify her for medical care in the US.

There were no prior bookings with any hospital or medical personnel for antenatal care and child birth.

Well, to cut the story short, she and her children were not only denied visa, she was also told they would no longer be eligible for the US visa in the future.

Madam is not alone in this scam. A number of pregnant Nigerian women would go to the US ostensibly for regular visits even when they’ve planned they would have their babies over there.

It gets even worse. Quite a number of these women would wait till they go into labour and then call 911 for help.

The United States being a country that cares about human life, these women are not usually abandoned.

Rather medical personnel would dutifully attend to them and they would have their babies on the bill of the US tax payer, sometimes without clearing all their medical bills.

The same women would be seen in Macys, Nordstrom and other department stores, shopping as though a full shopping cart answereth all things.

In fact, we don’t just know about them and remain indifferent. No, we applaud them for their shamelessness masquerading as ‘smartness’. We tell others of how they now live with their entire family in the US by overstaying their welcome in another man’s country

Later they would congratulate themselves for their ‘smartness’ and how they had beaten the American system.

Apparently, these ones have failed to draw the clear line between their brand of ‘smartness’ and shamelessness.

A shamelessness that comes back to haunt them when like our Madam above they realise only too late that the American system is built on a strong database that hardly forgets.

That shamelessness also allows them to forget that they might be destroying the very bridge they and others would need to use another day.

Remember when the news came out that the US was stopping visa by drop box for Nigeria and the different reactions that followed?

Nigerians, being certified outrage mongers, (apologies to Chimamanda Adichie) were falling over themselves and describing the US and President Donald Trump in the usual colourful terms.

Me? I was in one corner of my cubicle, laughing my head off in American English. As if we did know that it would one day come to that.

You see, many of our outraged and emotionally wounded compatriots, however, failed to exercise their signature outrage over a report that the US Department of Homeland Security also released at about the same time.

The report titled “The fiscal Year 2018 Entry/Exit Overstay Report” said that estimated 29,723 Nigerian immigrants living in the United States overstayed their U.S. non-immigrant tourism/business (B1/B2) visas between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018.

Out of this number, only 719 left the country after their visas expired. The remaining 29,004 simply disappeared into the thin air.

We are all potential convicts with our skewed and bankrupted mindsets and who else should represent us except licensed and unrepentant convicts?

That’s more than the population of some Island countries in the Caribbean, in one year alone.

These were people who applied for visas and were granted. So they entered the country legally. However, they refused to leave the country after their stay expired.

This time they were not outraged and the reason is simple. Almost everyone knows someone who knows someone that has done this and probably got away with it.

In fact, we don’t just know about them and remain indifferent. No, we applaud them for their shamelessness masquerading as ‘smartness’.

We tell others of how they now live with their entire family in the US by overstaying their welcome in another man’s country.

We blame hardship in the country as though Nigeria is the poorest nation on planet earth. We blame the Buhari government and the government before the Buhari government for making them take that shameful route to migration.

Sometimes, we wish we could be as daring and of course, as shameless.
There are different legal channels of migrating to another country and there shouldn’t be any shame in using any of them.

But when you ignore them all and decide to go rogue because the US embassy gave you a two-year multiple entries visa, then you must have exchanged your shame for desperation at a point.

The truth is that the sorry state we find ourselves in today began when we sold our sense of shame and bought in its stead our own brand of smartness and progress

Just imagine what you would do if you invited a guest into your home for a stated period and at the expiration of the agreed time, they decide to make your house their permanent abode.

Only shameless fellows behave thus and that’s what many of us have become.

Almost every day we see and hear fellow Nigerians angry that we have alleged felons at the helm of the country’s leadership but why not?

They point to this and that leader and reel out his crimes, local and international, from the 10 fingers of their hands.

We are all potential convicts with our skewed and bankrupted mindsets and who else should represent us except licensed and unrepentant convicts?

The truth is that the sorry state we find ourselves in today began when we sold our sense of shame and bought in its stead our own brand of smartness and progress.

Therefore, buying it back, at whatever cost, remains the one route to our salvation.

Make INEC Remove Party Wey No Weigh

Make INEC Remove Party Wey No Weigh

Anyị chọrọ ka INEC wedata ọnụ ọgụgụ otu ndọrọndọrọ ọchịchị enwere na Naịjiria