“People from outside Africa find it easier 2travel into d continent than the people of the continent & this must change” – Lindiwe Kwele
Above was another piece that caught my attention today. Africans are talking about uniting the continent for the betterment of us all. It is about time.
I have realised that Africans need to do bit more by giving examples of our experiences as it helps to understand situation better.
The first time I travelled without a visa was very exciting – it was going to The Gambia. Nigerians do not require a visa because of the ECOWAS. The two weeks there was quite pleasant, this was 2004, the year of the Tsunami.
The Gambia has more established tourism industry compared to Nigeria, so is better value for money – one area that we need to pay attention to in Nigeria, most ordinary folks travelling do want to enjoy their holidays but they can not be charged the same amount as our politicians – more to gain in volume.
Anyways, entering The Gambia was no issue with my green passport, had a great time and was nice visiting historical places such as Circle Stones, Goergetown (colonial town) and enjoyed visiting the gorilla park.
Exiting the country after two weeks was a different case. The lady at the counter was friendly enough but went away with my passport with what felt like eternity, every other minute, she’d come back to ask more questions which thankfully I was able to give satisfactory answers.
I saw her flipping through my passport as if something was sewn to it, she scanned all the pages so at this point I gestured to the lady if I could be of any further help as she still looks as if something was amiss.
In the end she told me of her concerns, she was looking for any slight traces of drugs and wanted to be sure that onward visa to my place of residence was genuine – “And it took that long even with computer access and all?” I thought to myself.
I thanked the her and left. That was the first time I was delayed for over 10 minutes for passport checks and it just happened to be a place I entered without a visa.
The lady was only doing her job.
Why do we have so many restrictions for Africans travelling within Africa?
Nigeria for example can do well by prosecuting corrupt officials. Also by investigating cases of injustices in our society, when this is done, we are a step further towards being a trusted nation.