There is this derisive impression about Nigerian passport holders in
most of the International Airports in different parts of the world,
especially in Indonesia. The Immigration officers molest, exploit and
forcibly take huge amount of bribes from Nigerians and threaten
deportation if one refuses to give in. This happens even when one has
not committed any offence. They show no respect to one’s Status so far
you are carrying Nigerian passport.

On the 17th June 2019, I was
once again greeted with harassment by Indonesian Immigration officers.
The ugly incidence spurred me to take up a fight against their
intimidation of Nigerians. I know that what they are doing is a corrupt
practice and we are their major victims. No matter how our country is,
we do not deserve such discriminatory extortion.

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So, on that
day, I arrived Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Jakarta, Indonesia,
in an Emirates Airline from Dubai (EK0356). On disembarking from the
Aircraft, I was walking to the queue when an immigration officer halted
me. He asked for my passport. As he saw a Nigerian passport, he took me
to their office and handed my passport over to his colleague. I greeted
the officer sitting down in the office. He ignored me. Three times I
greeted so he could say what the problem was but he remained silent and
kept deaf ears. So I stood waiting for him to break his silence. I was
standing, waiting for what I do not know, for 30 minutes before he
muttered any word. Finally, he asked of my hotel reservation, return
ticket and my Visa receipt, which I presented all to him.

The next question was, “do you want to go into the country?”

I said “yes”.

He replied, “Calculate the fare of a one-way ticket from Jakarta to Abuja and give it to me to permit you entry”.

I
pretended as if I didn’t understand what he was saying. The next thing
he did was to google the cost of a one-way ticket with his mobile phone
and showed it to me that it was $1,200usd (N432,000). I kept silent,
trying to make a sense out of his embarrassing demand. But he didn’t
stop there. He threatened to deport me by making copies of my travel
documents.

At this point, I remembered my sad experience on the
9th October 2018 on this same Airport for refusing to bribe an
Immigration officer with $200usd which nearly lead to my deportation. On
that fateful day, they had already handed me over to the security and
airline staff, reconfirmed my return ticket, checked in my luggage for
eventual deportation. Had it not been I was able to place a call to my
visa sponsor who intervened immediately by calling the airport
Immigration boss and pleaded on my behalf, I would have been deported
for no reason and would have lost huge sum and time. To the glory of
God, the deportation was reversed. Meanwhile, this is a country I have
been traveling to for 12 years without any infraction of their laws in
whatever way. I never overstayed my visit, never broke any law, never
even accused of any offense. My only offense was carrying Nigerian
passport.

With that bad experience, which I was not ready to
have a repeat of, I decided to be soft to this one demanding I should
bribe him with $1,200usd. He later came down to $500 (N180,000) after a
prolonged pleading. I immediately gave him the money but copied his name
and saved it in my phone.

On the 21st June 2019, I prepared petitions which I addressed to the following parastatals:
1. Kedutaan Besar Republik Federsi Nigeria (Ambassador, Embassy of Federal Republic of Nigeria)
2. Direktorat Jendral Imigrasi (Comptroller of Immigration)
3. Direktorat Saber Pungli (Anti-Financial Fraud)
4. Pengaddan Dugaan Pidana Korups (Anti-Corruption).

First,
I visited the Nigerian Embassy, met with the Ambassador and handed over
my petition to him. He summoned an emergency meeting with all the
Embassy’s senior staff. He appeared very impressive. He commended my
courage and promised to follow it up.

I stepped out of the
Embassy and moved to Indonesian Immigration headquarters. On my arrival
at the Immigration, it was difficult to gain access to meet with the
overall Boss, the Jendral (comptroller), but when I claimed to be a
Nigerian diplomat, they let me in. They ran security checks on me, gave
me a form to fill my purpose of visit. I filled “High Rate of Bribery
and Corruption Scandal Going on at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport,
Jakarta”. This form must have caught the attention of the Immigration
boss as he didn’t hesitate to request for me.

I gave him my
petition. He read but couldn’t believe that such was going on in their
Airport. I provided the name of the Staff, which I copied into my phone.
He typed the name in an application in his Laptop and it displayed the
photo image of the Immigration officer. I confirmed the picture was that
of the man who collected bribe of $500usd from me. He thanked me for
coming up with such information, which he said no one had ever brought
to his desk. He made a promise that he would investigate the report and
invite me for an update within 48 hours.

In less than 24 hours
of my report, I was invited by the Immigration boss. Upon my arrival to
his office, I was given a VIP treat. The Jendral, that is the
Immigration boss, started with an apology on behalf of the entire
Immigration and Indonesian government. He went further to tell me that
the officer who extorted money from me accepted he did it, and
implicated four other senior “intelligent” officers who were involved in
the indecent act. He narrated that the five senior officers had been
dismissed immediately, that their dismissal letter would be given to
them at the end of our meeting.

A sealed envelope was handed over
to me. Inside the envelope were an apology letter and a sum of
$1,600usd. The Jendral did not know that the money enclosed in the
envelope was above the amount they collected from me. He was so amazed
when I told him the money was in excess of my money. He decided to
confirm it himself and discovered that the corrupt officers at the
Airport enclosed all the money they forcibly collected from Nigerians on
board the Emirates Airline that conveyed me to Jakarta that day.

That
was how I salvaged other Nigerians who arrived the Airport from that
moment onwards. I was told Nigerian passport holders are now being
attended to with full respect at the point of entry. The era of $500 to
$1,000 bribe for nothing has been defeated.

Funny enough, the
Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia, who I first reported this case to, did
absolutely nothing about it. He once told the Consular General,
Emabassy of Nigeria, Indonesia, to inform me that they were still trying
to get an appointment with the Minister of Foreign Affairs in
Indonesia. Two months gone and they are still booking appointments. If I
had waited for them, my money would have gone and our citizens visiting
Indonesia for businesses would still be suffering intimidation and
extortion. This is why nobody cared to report this crime to our Embassy
because they all know that the report will be swept under the carpet.

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