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