Monday, January 4, 2010

Planes, Immigration and Nigerians.

Here’s a short animation inspired by the recent negative publicity that Nigeria has been receiving in the international media. Nigeria has been tagged in a Sony Playstation ad, the District 9 movie and even in a little mention in Avatar (cough and you’ll miss that one). Now with the recent unfortunate airplane bombing attempt by a Nigerian national it seems like the international media has got a new target to attack. Nigeria is now shorthand for anything bad in the international media’s eyes. Travelling with a Nigerian passport was bad enough already but now it’s definitely going to be more ‘interesting’...

Nigerians aren’t all saints by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not saying that..
. And god knows the country has big issues to deal with. But Americans aren’t all angels. Neither are the British, Russians, Europeans, Chinese, South Africans or any nation for that matter. Nigerians at home or in Diaspora should stop apologising for being Nigerian whether you still have the Nigerian passport or are now a citizen of another country. If you are honest in what you are doing why do you need to hide?

A lot of Nigerians are setting up groups on online forums and social sites with titles like ‘Nigerians are not Terrorists’ or ‘Nigerians Love Peace’. To me this misses the point and also is slightly scary. Has our national psyche been reduced to a level where we feel we have to apologise for everything a few Nigerians do so we can be let into countries such as the U.S. or U.K. etc? Some Nigerians are even changing their names now.

Those countries and more have proven terrorists than we do. This is our first case. Those countries also have fraudsters, corruption, prostitution, mafias, racism etc. But I don’t see them apologising to us and other countries in that manner. When a U.S., British, E.U., Chinese etc citizen comes to our country, they are treated like kings. In my opinion that is because, for good or bad, those countries have the confidence to fight for their corner in a smart and strong way.

I have nothing against those countries. I lived in the UK for a long time and still love London as a city and will always do. They are just doing what they have to do to further their cause. I believe we have to do the same and play the smart long term game. On a general level, that means a strong confident Nigeria that looks inward to solve its problems before demanding respect and help from others. Media is a powerful tool in achieving that. International media houses are free to report in any manner they wish. And of course it’s not; say CNN’s or other media outfits, responsibility to report wonderful things about Nigeria.

I just feel they should not pretend to be objective and factual when they are not. One only has to watch the recent reporting on the bombing attempt to understand this. First it was an attacking frenzy on everything Nigerian and how we are corrupt etc. When it turned out that the family of the young man actually warned relevant authorities and Western security agencies could be at fault, the media had to alter their direction on how they were reporting the issue.

Yes, travelling will now be hell and humiliating for many, especially our respected elderly. But I’m not apologising for being Nigerian to anybody. That’s just ridiculous.

Adamu Waziri