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The turf appears set for a major confrontation between Nigeria and South
African over deportation of Nigerian travelers.
One hundred and twenty-five South African bound Nigerians were on Friday
deported at the point of entry at the Oliver Tambo International Airport,
Johanesburg for allegedly having fake yellow fever vaccine papers.
Angered by the development, the Federal Government on Sunday demanded
an explanation from the South African government over the incident which
Nigeria considered harsh against the travelers.
The Nigerian passengers consist of 50 on Arik Air and 75 aboard South
Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru in a statement said
already talks are on between representatives of both countries to ascertain
what happened to the travelers in South Africa.
He described the deportation as a deliberate maltreatment of Nigerian
passengers and a violation of international rules and practice.
“On Friday, I directed our High Commissioner to South Africa, Amb. Yusuf to
formally send a protest note to South African Government about this
maltreatment of Nigerian passengers. And that South Africa should stop this
“First of all, the Federal Government deplores what the South African
Immigration officials did to Nigerian passengers by sending them back to
Nigeria on the excuse that they were in possession of fake yellow card
“Number one, the same yellow card certificate is a requirement at the South
African Embassy before they can issue your visa. So, the visa officers at the
embassy in Nigeria usually crosscheck yellow card certificate submitted by
“Having crosschecked and given them visas, why should the Immigration
Department at the point of entry say the same certificate that have been
crosschecked by their embassy officials is fake.
“And the standard international practice, for countries requiring yellow card, is
for them to quarantine passengers without yellow card certificates at the
point of entry.
“It is improper to send them back. It is a harsh treatment of Nigerian
passengers; it is not good to send them back.
“They should realise that they do not have the monopoly of sending back
passengers or ill-treating them at the point of entry. Our officials and the
South African officials will be meeting on Monday in Pretoria. And thereafter,
Nigeria would react in a mature and calculated manner to this obvious
maltreatment of Nigerian travellers”, he said.
Wondering why the South African government could refuse the travelers entry
on the guise of being in possession of fake yellow fever vaccine certificate,
the minister said already Nigeria had been certified by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) as a Yellow Fever-free nation and, as such, he did not
see why the South African Immigration Services turned back the travellers.
His words: “That is why countries in Europe and the United States do not
demand Yellow Fever cards from Nigerian travelers; it is only South Africa
and a few countries in the Southern Hemisphere that demand Yellow Fever
card from Nigerian travelers.”
Nigeria tackles South Africa over
deportation of 125 Nigerian travelers
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-Editor, African Examiner
Monday, March 05, 2012
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