Date Published: 10/29/09
Discrimination and Exploitation of Nigerians at the Polish Embassy, Abuja By Dixon Peters
I recall vividly a couple of weeks ago reading on a daily newspaper about a young man who complained bitterly about the shabby treatment meted to him at the Polish embassy ,ona crescent,maitama, Abuja.Just weeks later i find the allegations of that report to be true,i personally had my own taste of the bitter experience.I therefore decided to do something about it.I believe the easiest way to improve our dear country Nigeria is to 'be the change' you desire.I like thousands of other nigerians got an admission to study at a university in Poland. As its required for student visa applications,i paid my full tuition fees to the university and thoroughly studied all other requirements to be met as clearly stated on the website of the embassy( http://www.abuja.polemb.net/)and and on the notice board placed at the gate of the embassy .I felt confident about getting the visa after painstakingly fulfilling all the rigorous processes and documentation to be met.I applied for the visa as at when due ,paid the visa fees and was told to call back after a few weeks to know the result of the application for the visa.I called a few weeks later and got a cold shock,i was told on the phone that my visa was refused.My first response to the person i spoke to on the phone was;please may i kindly understand why my visa was refused because i am very sure that i had met and surpassed every criteria set for the granting of a study visa.Even more shocking i was told by the same staff that the embassy does not have a reason for denying me and that the decision was final.After making that call my next response was to begin to call every other person i had met that applied for a study visa on the same day as i did,interestingly over ninety percent of the other applicants were refused too.I wanted to assume that it was just those who applied at the same time as i did that were refused visas but i was wrong. By the time i physically got to the embassy at maitama,abuja to find out what was really going on,i discovered that out of the hundreds of other nigerians who i met there day in and day out ,a large majority of them were refused visas,the statistics was clear; that the refusal rate was well over ninety percent.It meant that only one out of every ten nigerians that applied and paid visa application fee was actually given the polish visa.While still trying to comprehend this discriminatory high visa refusal rates of nigerians,more disturbing was the fact that we were clearly stopped from attempting to appeal the irrational visa decisions because a lot of us were very sure that there were errors in those decisions made.They sarcastically told us that they do not give anyone grounds for appeal on irrational visa decisions that they make.At first we wondered if may be on an individual basis there were some things that we did not do right in our applications but by consulting with each other, especially those that applied for study visas,collectively it then dawned on us that the administration of the polish embassy abuja is clearly a discriminatory and exploitative one.They are simply and only interested in collecting the visa fees and nothing else.Our observation is that the embassy is very inefficient in its administration as it is incapable of even carrying out the least investigation to determine the evidence that is given to them .An example of this is a case of a student that was refused visa also and yet his Parents who were his sponsors,had an account funded with well over ten million naira,meaning that he had sufficient funds for his education.In the same vein many of us nigerians that were applying for study visas had fat account statements with sufficient funds for our education in whatever capacity, economy or currency you may want to judge it or compare it with.We were not only dealing with a lousy and inefficient embassy we were also dealing with an embassy that was discriminatory,inhumane and exploitative to nigerians.An embassy were so many nigerian applicants are made to stand outside the gate for lengthy hours without a shelter under extreme weather conditions in heavy rains and hot sun,only to refuse their visa applications without a reason.They do not think the nigerian applicant deserves the dignity of an official letter to explain the reason for a visa refusal.We now wonder why they collect the visa fees if they cannot even dignify a nigerian visa applicant by typing an official letter explaining a visa refusal.Its equally frustrating to be told that they do not have a justice system in place ,where visa applicants that feel aggrieved can appeal a decision.Even worse is a known fact that corruption does exist in the embassy.Many applicants for study visa narrate how they were approached for bribe to facilitate the visa process by embassy staff only to still be disappointed after desperately doling out funds.Conclusively this report is made to alert nigerians to beware of exploitative and discriminatory embassies that are clearly after your visa fees.Nigerians are adviced not to waste precious time and monies trying to apply for visa at the Polish embassy Abuja.Its not worth the humilation and stress.If we must travel,there are so many other embassies that have learnt to treat nigerians with the dignity and respect that we deserve in our own country.We cannot force the Polish embassy to give nigerians the polish visa but we can protect the interest of nigerians from being exploited if we suceed in drastically reducing the visa fees which they get from nigerians.Its a fact that if nigerians stop paying those fees in droves,the income of the embassy would be greatly affected and then they would be compelled to change their discriminatory attitude towards nigerians. Sadly amongst many nigerians that have got dealings with the Polish embassy abuja,it is largely rated as the worse embassy in nigeria.Nigerians have a right to demand to be treated with dignty and respect by foreign embassies moreso in our own country.Every allegation made in this report is easily verifable and widely known. My name is Dixon Amangi-Peters and phone number; 08036582429.