. Victim Narrates Her Ordeal
Many Nigerians outside the shores of their mother land have often returned with tales of dehumanizing treatments in foreign countries. While many believe racial discrimination is a major part of operations in the Western World, some people hold firm to the belief that it is only illegal immigrants and criminals that are treated poorly by law enforcement agents of such countries. A Nigerian being deported from Spain some years ago allegedly had all his limbs bound while his mouth too was gagged. He eventually died on the flight to Lagos. Almost on a daily basis, Nigerians are deported from different countries of the world, with some of them being subjected to inhumane conditions.
Contrary to the widely held belief that only offenders or drug suspects get humiliated at airports, a medical personnel recently narrated the ordeal she went through in Paris while on her way to Luxembourg, pursuant to which she said she intends to sue the Fench police at Charles de Gaulle Airport
” I was in paris sometimes in March transiting to Luxembourg for a medical conference. My visa and everything was okay. I travelled from Abuja airport on Air France, the flight left around 11pm Nigerian Time, I got to the police border at exactly 6:45am. I was stopped and screened. Then the first question the guy asked was that am I a NIgerian and I said yes and he also said am I single, to which I said yes also”.
She disclosed that after the questions, the officer said “I am sorry, you have to follow me”. Speaking further, she said “I followed him to their aeropot office. Where I was asked to sit, they checked my VISA my two account details, and one of the policemen said what type of job do you do in Nigeria that makes you to earn this much?. So they gave me a paper to sign, which I refused to do, because it was in French and I demanded for an interpreter which they did not produce until after 6 hours of waiting. Without my consent they had cancelled my flight. I showed them that I have paid for my hotel €684 for five days, the conference fee €500. All these explanations turned on deaf ears as I was told that all I needed to do was sign and that they don’t understand English.
I was locked up in their cell because I refused to sign what I didn’t understand, was frisked and searched like a criminal.
I was with them for four days not having access to my luggage, my phones, my laptop, my Ipad, everything was seized from me. For the four days it was a living hell for me. I finally found somebdy that was ready to interpret the statement I was given to sign, though I wrote another statement in English and I signed that and gave them to use as my statement but they refused. When the person interpreted it for me, it says I was travelling to Luxembourg to meet frends and for prostitution never to come back to Nigeria.
I was really angry so I told them I was not interested in going for the conference again because I was being fed like a vegetarian, I didn’t have my bath for four days, couldn’t contact anybody, not even my parents. I told them that I will love to go back to Nigeria and they refused, saying until they charge me to court, on Tuesday which was like 6 days away. Eventually when I could, I pulled a plug by using the phone in the aeropot cell where I was being held, I contacted my parents who were more than worried. Thank God the number was registered they called me back, contacted the Embassy of Nigeria in france and also the Ambassador of Nigeria in france. When the embassy got through to them, the French police denied having me with them, the embassy believed them, but because my parents persisted and they got through to me and spoke to me, they would not have believed, I guess that angered the French police because they moved me from where I was to where I could gain no access to phones at all. But thank God people already knew about what was going on.
On Monday, a day preceding the Tuesday I couldn’t take it any longer. I did all the drama, I could and I started speaking in tongues. Despite the fact that it was snowing I was sweating, so they were confused and thought I was running mad soo they had to release me, saying they will take me to the hospital. I refused and told them I only wanted to go back home. Fortunately for me the embassy got through to them and I was released to come back home. But my passport was given to the pilot who handed it over to the Nigeria Immigration Service at Murtala Mohammed international airport. When they looked through they were confused because they couldn’t find any reason why they should have held me in the first instance. They released me and told me to thank God”.
On the effects of the detention, she said “I am just recovering frm that mental shock and I am ready to pursue this case, not for me or what they made me go through but because of people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t know anybody if such a thing should happen.
And I want to make them pay for treating me like a criminal. Am not a racist but ever since that incident has happened to me, I hate every French man I have met, even a French patient in the hospital I know it is not right but I can’t help but feel that way towards them”.