Visa Wahala!

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We are suffering in this country oh! If you see the queues at Visa application centres, you go tire. I mean do people want to leave naija so badly? I have friends who are willing to pay up to $2000 for a UK or US visa. In fact, it’s only in naija that you hear people give testimony in church about getting a visa. It can be especially trying when a husband or boyfriend is “stuck” in the UK or whichever country and the wife is stuck in naija.

I don’t have any problems with getting visas as my passport is full so I didn’t think getting a South African visa would be a problem. Really getting the actual visa wasn’t a problem; the visa officer just looked at my passport and gave me a time to come and pick my passport and visa later, however the wahala involved in getting into the embassy na wa.

My husband and I had been told to get to the embassy by 5 am as they only attend to about 60 people. Well, we got there at past five feeling very cute and by the time we found the “list” we were no 84! The guy with the list behaved like he was in charge and told us that we should wait as our number may go up since a few people on the list may not return. At 6 am a security guard started giving out tally numbers and stopped at sixty. Later we found out that the guy with the list was a tout and people who approached him were given higher numbers on the list for a fee. Another tout offered us yellow fever vaccination card for N2,000 (we didn’t know we needed it). As we were about to buy it another applicant told us where the card was being officially issued for N200.

Anyway a series of fights broke out when the tout tore the list and when it was obvious that we couldn’t get in we decided to go back on Friday. We were told that people slept there to write their names so we should come earlier.

We got there at 4am on Friday and discovered that we were again too late. My husband made a few friends among some other applicants who had also been there the previous day so that whoever came early could write names for others on the “list’.

On Sunday night around 8 pm one of the other applicants called my husband and told him the “list” was already out and that people had written up to 30 names. We rushed there and after the “list” holders (this time a fellow applicant and a policeman) released the list and we were number 41. By midnight sixty names had been compiled. All this for an embassy that opens at 9 am. Once we were sure our names were on the authentic list, we went to get some sleep, by 5:30 am we were back to get our tally number. The security guard took his dear time and didn’t come out till 6:30 am.

We soon got our numbers and left for work, mind you I had to get a friend to take my kids to school since dh and I were both keeping vigil at the embassy. By 10 am we went back to the embassy to get yet another tally number (the first one was just given to make their work easier) from the Embassy staff. At about 1 pm we entered the embassy and got our visas. Na wa! My husband exclaimed “after all this stress South Africa had better be worth it”.

Seriously, why are so many Nigerians so desperate to leave Nigeria? I mean sleeping outside the embassy, paying thousands, getting deported and still going back? God help this Nation, give people opportunities and ideas so they can find fufillment in Naija. Please God, make Nigeria safe and improve our economy and infrasrtucture in Jesus’ name. Amen

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26 Comments

  1. WEll thank God after all the ‘run around town’ you were finally able to get a visa… dang.. people are really serious about this leaving nigeria.. i never had to get one there.. but when we went to ghana to apply for one… it was definitely more civilized… lol.. no wonder they closed the canadian embassy in Nigeria

  2. My Sister won a free trip for two to South Africa courtesy of TRUE LOVE MAGAZINE. U would think that since this was a prize, she just had to sit back, relax and just show up at the airport.That was far from the case.

    She gave me horrible stories about sourcing the SA Visa herslf ( thought True Love would do that) and the whole procedure was hell. I thought that was maybe a peculiar case but now after reading ur blog u i can see that this SA get as e be.

    By the way, I think i know u.

  3. Visa wahala in Nigeria! When will things change? Most people want to get out, even if its just to Ghana! Those that cant get out, try to make a living out of the situation- selling free forms, immunisation cards, heck writing a list is now a career for one tout, just because!Lol
    Another thing is that Nigerians are lawless by nature! I remember Nigerian High commission in London! Its like a market! As in a Nigerian Market! Lol!
    Nigeria can’t be that bad, I think its just a case of the grass being greener on the other side!
    When is your trip? Make sure you have loads of fun. SA is a beautiful place, I absolutely love it! Where are you guys going?
    BTW Chioma, I know you pretty well, but ………. story for another day! 🙂

  4. I don enter wahala…I didnt know I was so popular lol! Since y’all are being anonymous I know you won’t tell me who you are but pls give me hints.It truly is a small world.

    ONB@thank God they have re opened the canadian High Commission i worked there once and the impression they have about nigerians is so bad ” you people are so corrupt”!..ok girl will get your bracelet..lol.

    babeplus@ my sister you no wan go that embassy..really sad

    ladybug@true someone was even saying that getting naija visa is even hard cus our high commissions are too disorganised.I went to the one in rome..it was crazy,”working girls” hustling for new passports so they could send the old ones home.naija!

  5. Pele or should that be ndo…but we sef don’t help matters- we accept any kind treatment. I know this may sound crazy but the embassy is supposed to be providing a service and should be looking for ways of delivering that service…

    And maybe so many Nigerians want to leave because their passports are not full like yours so they feel they have no option. I’m not saying it’s right- just another perspective

  6. ahahahhaha, our rooms were on the same floor, u might not know my name but maybe my face.

    anyways all will be revealed soon hahahahah.

    U write good, nice blogs.

  7. I agree with Ladybug!even in our own embassies abroad, we are disorganised, so how the hell can we be organised in another one? Its ridiculous! I had a horrible experience with one of the embassies in Europe, infact, I was so ashamed, really. I don’t know how these people get those jobs, but a woman chewing gum at the front desk, reading ovation, yam porridge on the side, while gisting on the phone at the same time is nothing to write home about! I was the only one there, and I sat waiting for more than an hour before she attended to me! I was shocked! And even then, she was so rude!

  8. Babe, the visa thing is ridiculous–when I tell Americans how stressful the whole thing can be they get all indignant on my behalf (lol..not that it changes anything) but thank God you got that sorted…and yep, I called yesterday and will try again.

  9. Late at 4am?!! I thought things were getting better. Obviously not. Looking forward to reading about your ‘belated honeymoon’ and the consequent ‘new addition’ to the family. 🙂

  10. i just had to laugh at this visa issue…really it’s not funny… very very sad. I understand why some of my “comfortable” friends tell me they just cant be bothered…

  11. the problem is not that Nigerians so desperately want to leave Nigeria. See, if I have to travel, I have to travel and if I need a visa, I need a visa. The problem is that Nigerians accept such kind of treatment from these embassies. And why wont they be treated that way….its like this:when a father looses his respect, his children loose theirs too.

  12. @waffy-lol..that sounds so typically nigerian, so sad.
    @nanya- eh yah pls call
    @omara- will keep you posted 🙂
    @diamond hawk- welcome to my blog ….my dear when your outside that embassy its not funny oh!
    @tokunbo- welcome welcome! I hear you…alot of people just need to travel for one thing or the other, but I think that the situation got so bad because of the desperation of most applicants.I think the only person that can demand for a change is the foreign minister.If on my own I complain to the visa officer what next? its sad

  13. The scene you described is reminiscent of the situation at the British and Dutch embassies in early 2000 – 2004. I really dont know why we accept to be treated the way we do.

    Have a lovely trip to SA.

  14. no one in my family has ever been refused a visa or had probs wit getting a visa but i know how much i had to stand at the UK embassy in Abuja to be able to get my students visa. We (me and my sis) got to the embassy very early in the morning (we used to live in lagos and had to come to abuja for the visa, but that wasn’t the stressful part),i was thinking that we were 1 of the 1st people to arrive but i was wrong. Loads of people were already there & i had 2 wait more than 5 hrs for my turn. Standing in a line like prisoners waiting to collect food!

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