The dehumanizing way Nigerians are being treated at the Indian High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria on a daily basis for visa processes has become a source of concern.
On Friday 9th March 2018 with an appointment of 10:15am, I called by the Visa Officer few minutes to 12 noon. I had been invited by the Center for Health and Social Justice based in New Delhi to participate in Learning Exchange Workshop on Community Participation in Reproductive Health from March 22nd to 23rd 2018 with confirmed accommodation and roundtrip flight ticket and all trip expenses covered by the organizers as contained in the letter submitted.
The organizers ahead of his appointment date had already sent to the Embassy the invitation letter as well as approval to organize the conference provided by the Indian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
After submitting all necessary documents for a 2 day conference including 3 months’ bank statement and 3 months’ salary pay slips for a conference trip that is already fully paid by the organizers, the Visa Officer still asked me to go and bring a cover letter from my Bank as well as photocopies of all my degree certificates plus professional qualifications for a few days conference visa.
To cap it all the Visa Officer was talking with a degree of arrogance and contempt and even his window screen is “tinted”, so no one even see his face but only hears his voice. I observed that other Nigerians before that were called upon were treated the same way with 1-2 hours appointment delay and many were kept under the ‘sun” for the waiting time. A 2-3 days conference visa is charged at N93, 000, which is the highest in the diplomatic circle in Abuja.
The ‘tinted’ glass window so that no one can see the face of the Visa Officers is only being practiced at the Indian High Commission in Abuja which further demonstrates “contempt” meted on Nigerians on daily basis.
Upon witnessing this dehumanizing treatment, I collected all my documents and cancelled the official trip as a “humble” protest for the Indian High Commission to start treating Nigerians with respect and human dignity.
Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network and Publisher of Health Reporters