Thursday, 20 June 2013

Kenyan President Orders Mass Arrest And Deportation of Nigerians

For Nigerians resident in Kenya, these are the worst of times. Their plight could be compared to the era of slave trade when able-bodied Africans could not tell what the next minute held for them because human traffickers could pick them up the next minute.

Checks revealed that in recent times, Nigerians have become victims of undeserved humiliation and deportation in President Barrack Obama’s country of origin.

It was gathered that due to the uproar that followed a recent publication by Sunday Sun in which one of the deportees, Anthony Chinedu, recounted his sad experiences in the hands of Kenyan security personnel, the government of the East African country swiftly changed its strategy. According to latest deportees, the Kenyan security agents have resorted to bugging telephone conversations of Nigerians, and once the name or language sounds Nigerian, they would trace the person and get him arrested.

They stated that Nigerian citizens, especially those engaged in legitimate businesses in that country live literally with their hearts on their palms, hiding from place to place for fear of being picked up and bundled back home empty handed.

It was alleged that part of the grouse that the Kenyan President and his deputy have against Nigerian citizens was that Nigerians gave massive support to his rival in the country’s recent presidential election and that a Nigerian is in charge of the deputy president’s case at the International Criminal Court.

President orders mass arrest and deportation;

A tacit official confirmation that Kenya-based Nigerians were really in for hard times, came last Monday, when that country’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in a public function, gave his nod to mass deportation of Nigerians. While declaring open the 2nd National Conference on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) in Nairobi, on June 11, 2013, he ordered the security agencies to fish out, arrest and deport all foreigners suspected to engage in drug trafficking in Kenya. Sunday Sun monitored the reportage of the presidential order that was relayed in Kenyan radio and TV stations including NTV, Capital FM and Ghetto Radio- 89.5FM, as well as some tabloids the next day. Some of their headlines read: “Deport all suspected drug dealers”, “Police to arrest, deport all foreigners suspected of engaging in drug”, and “Deport all suspected foreign drug dealers”. It was gathered that since that official directive, several Nigerians have been secretly deported.

Many Nigerian citizens in that country saw the presidential order as an official permission to Kenyans to tag any face they do not like, as “suspected” drug dealer. One of them who mailed Sunday Sun stated that, “since all it takes to throw a foreigner out of Kenya is mere suspicion, landlords, debtors and anybody who doesn’t like your face only needs to call in the police and brand you a suspect.”

One of the victims who identified himself simply as Joe, spoke to Sunday Sun upon his arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, on Monday. Like Chinedu, he is also an indigene of Anambra state. Narrating his experiences in the hands of the Kenyan police, he stated that he was picked up Sunday night and told to choose either to die slowly in their (security men) hands or silent deportation.

“I asked them what they meant by going home silently and they said they would just buy a normal air ticket for me, so I could return to Nigeria like other normal travelers, and I chose the latter,” he said.

Joe said he learnt later, that the security agents adopted the strategy because the Nigerian High Commission in Kenya had lodged official complaint to the authorities about the deportation of Nigerian citizens without its knowledge. About a dozen Nigerian citizens resident in Kenya who reacted to Sunday Sun interview with Anthony Chinedu also confirmed that Nigerians were still being recklessly arrested and detained. They also confirmed Joe’s allegation of silent deportation.

Another deportee, Mr Paul Owoseni, an indigene of Ondo state, told a pathetic story. He told Sunday Sun while on his way to his village that he did not know his offence;
Hear him: “Many Nigerians are still detained there, as we speak, awaiting deportation. Till now, I don’t know what offence I committed that warranted this inhuman treatment. Their security agents just go on the streets of Kenya, picking up anyone they identify as a Nigerian and tag him a drug dealer. I was doing my legitimate business in that country; I did not sale, take or keep drugs, and nobody has ever seen me with any narcotic substance. They picked me up on Monday (June 3), and detained me till Thursday, before bundling about ten of us into the plane. We were not allowed to take even a pin. They told us while in detention, that they wanted all Nigerians out of their country, not minding whether we were doing legitimate business or not. They also said that they did not want to get rid of us through court process.
Tracking method;
“The moment you call a friend and the security agents noticed it is a Nigerian name you called, they would track both of you and get you arrested. They also intercept calls, and once they notice that you sounded Nigerian, they would trace you and get you arrested immediately.”

Owoseni told Sunday Sun that while in Kenya, he was into importation of human hairs that he also supplied to Uganda and Tanzania, and he had just stocked his shop. Oseni alleged that the security agents broke his gate while he was away on the day they came to arrest him, at about 5pm, and waited for him.

They even arrested a friend that was in my company at that time. I will not mention his name because he is among those in detention in Kenya.

Kenyan wife works with Kenyan army;
Owoseni who arrived in Nigeria with nothing, said like many other Nigerians, he was married to a Kenyan and they had a child, Micheal. He stated that his Kenyan wife, Damaris, who works for the Kenyan army, was still at work when he was arrested, and they did not allow him to communicate with her before he was deported. Like the other deportees, he urged that the Nigerian government should not let all their struggles in Kenya to be in vain.

Another Deportee speaks;
Also forced out of Kenya, was Oluwatosin Adebiyi, an indigene of Oyo State, who was arrested at midnight and taken away in his nightclothes. “They stormed my house at midnight and arrested me. They were about 40 armed men, and before I was taken away, they ransacked the house and took away all handy valuables including my $20,000 cash, five phones and three ipads belonging to me and my wife. My duplex, two cars and other valuables in the house are worth over N60 million. “The most annoying part was that they rendered me incommunicado, disallowed me from communicating with my Kenyan wife and children. They did not give me any option while in detention.”

They jumped into my compound around 1 a.m. -Daniel;
Another deportee, Mr Daniel, narrated his ordeal in Kenya. “On Sunday night (June 2), about 15 policemen who were armed to the teeth, came to my house. They actually scaled the fence like criminals, around 1 a.m., and ordered me to open my door. Initially, I thought they were armed robbers.


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