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



  1. Hi Adamu,
    Such a lovely piece capped by that hilarious clip. Until now, I haven't seen anyone yet that has cared to voice (..or should i say as you have done and I completely share the same views as us. One guy out of over a 150 million Nigerians have put so many people to fright this much??? It beats me completely.
    The guy in no way represents what we stand for neither does the international community (US in particular) have any right to judge us based on this. In fact, I have come to find out that Nigerians, through our lack of confidence like you mentioned have passed worse judgment on us than even most countries who have seen this issue as "just another terror case which happened to be perpetrated by a Nigerian". For crying out loud, Britons, and even Americans, have carried out terror acts in the past and never has it been pushed so hard.
    Who cares if the label us a Terrorist Country? Would an extra one hour delay in the airport kill anyone? Why are we so bothered about how bad this would affect our ability to get a US visa as if that was the end of the world? A serious-minded individual who's got focus and a genuine (and vibrant) business here in Nigeria wouldn't bother so much about these things. I'm yet to see such people refuse visas to the US & it's unlikely this would change that.

    I could go on and on but it's high time we stopped weighing ourselves down and paying too much attention to issues like this. The west have got the press and media and are using it to suit their purposes. It's a call on us to do what is right and pass the word round. It's up to them 9the west) to accept that. Whether they do or not doesn't change who we really are.

  2. Oyaje,
    Thanks for taking the time out to write. We were actually in mid production of the animation when the recent event happened. I actually had the idea way before because our country's image was already taking a hammering and the green passport wasn't exactly the most popular!

    You're right. Some Nigerians have been almost the vocal critics here. I could also go on and on but as far as I'm concerned, the best way to battle this is to play the long smart game.

    Which is always the hardest I know. This country with all its divides is a tough one to guide. But the second Nigeria decides to achieve a tenth of its potential, the rest of the world will sing a different tune. Look at the Brazillians, Chinese and Indians. They haven't finished their journey but already they are already flexing their muscles on the global scene. The West can't treat China or India in a shoddy manner.

    Actually I think I'm about to go on and on!I'll stop now. We just have to shut up and shape up and stop going on about how we are the giant of this and that. When you are really powerful you don't have to run around saying it. We've got too many African countries disappointed with us and I don't blame them for a second. We have a lot of work to do.

  3. I saw this on Huffington, went on your youtube page, then your facebook and now your blog (stalker alert)! I'm thrilled by EVCL especially being based in Abuja making such quality work .

    This is a hilarious take on the issue and I agree with the comment by Oyaje. This Mutallab incident is a complete distraction as we are all focused on our image, stressing over airport waits, profiling and stereotyping etc when the country is on its way to becoming a failed state with no president, rampant corruption, poverty, unemployment, etc

    Ps. Is coconut island your production?

  4. Hi Ladi,
    Apologies for taking so long to reply. Thanks for the support and we're glad to be long as it's harmless!

    No Coconut Island is not our production but we're looking forward to seeing it on air.

    All the best.