Sri Lanka government stigmatizing Nigerians – Nigerian High Commissioner

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By Ehi Ekhator, Naija Center News.

The Nigerian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, S. U Ahmed has lambasted the Sri Lankan government over the continuous ill treatment its government is melting on Nigerians on a daily basis.

S.U. Ahmed said the government is stigmatizing and labelling Nigerians over the Ebola virus, and also generalizing all Nigerians as criminals.

S. U Ahmed, Nigerian Ambassador to Sri Lanka
S. U Ahmed, Nigerian Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka government over the weeks  had suspended visa on arrival for Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone over the Ebola virus but made it clear that any visitor who come into the country during this period would go through the normal medical test before entering.

A family of seven including a little baby who came to Sri Lanka to attend a wedding ceremony of their brother were held at the airport for about 18 hours. They were completely isolated from others without even allowing them to use the washroom in the realization that they were Nigerians.

According to the Nigerian ambassador who spoke with a Sri Lankan newspaper correspondent, expressed his disappointment over the way and manner Nigerians were treated.

He said the family that was quarantined without being screened at the Bandaranaike International Airport went through all kinds of medical test as laid down by the Sri Lanka government before they were stamped visa in Nigeria but were still detained and deported at the airport after 18 hours.

“They were isolated from the rest at the airport, is it due to their colour, race or ebola? he inquired.

“Why not quarantine all the passengers in that plane? Did they all not use the same toilet? But the other passenger were cleared while this wedding party was detained and deported.

“Even though there is an ebola scare in the Africa region, no country, not the US or the UK, has thus far deported even one Nigerian citizen. Only Sri Lanka has

“I have asked for an explanation from the Ministry of External Affair about the detention and deportation of the Nigerians who came for the wedding and there is no response till today. What is left for me is to assume matters. This is the level of diplomacy being practiced and it’s very unpleasant” He lamented.

The ambassador also communicated the President’s disappointment on the way the Sri Lanka government is treating Nigerians. He said “President Jonathan is not happy about Nigerians being profiled and stigmatized in this manner

“Certainly no one will feel happy if your people are not treated well. We are not offended but we want Sri Lanka to be cautious and humane.”

S. U Ahmed complained that he had contacted Ministry of External Affair (MEA) through a letter requesting information on Nigerians who are presently in Sri Lankan prison but till date, he has not even received a letter of acknowledgement.

A witness who spoke with NAIJA CENTER NEWS over the incident said that the embassy had to call on some Nigerians who they could reach to attend the wedding of the Nigerian whom his family were not allowed to enter Sri Lanka.

Another Nigerian who is a student had earlier disclosed to NAIJA CENTER NEWS that he was embarassed by the behaviour of some Sri Lankans when he visited a certain hospital in Colombo.

The moment they realized he was a Nigerian, they kept screaming ebola! ebola! while everyone moving far away from him as he walked.

Sri Lanka government had few months back reported in one of the leading newspaper that the government was on a clampdown on Nigerians. The government acquired a new machine to check the validity of passport and visa and used a Nigerian passport seized by the immigration for advert without informing the original owner who was at the time, in the deportation camp, nor was any Nigerian representative consulted.


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