Immigration refers to the act of coming to live permanently in a foreign country. It was first invented by European white men as they manufactured ships to look for foreign land (just for fun) and they eventually discovered Nigeria. When they arrived, they gave it a 5-star rating and decided to take a few things back with them. They filled said ships with our food, clothes, crops, people, art and everything the sun touched, they figured that they couldn’t transport the land itself, so they planted a flag to let the inhabitants know a new boss was in town. These white men took all they wanted for themselves, the only woman known to benefit from this robbery was the female journalist on their immigration discovery team and yet they only gave her naming right to their latest acquisition because men are scum. Flora Shaw or Aunty Nigeria as I like to call her, named Britain’s new home and they continued to make a global business out of stealing Nigerian resources and people. I use the term stealing lightly because they claim they were doing God’s work, and by God’s work, they mean; burrowing a few human souls to help them build their economy and also help cultivate the land they stole from native Indians.
Fast forward to the year 2020, the land our ancestors were brutally forced to cultivate is now called the United States of America or the U.S of A, like my Igbo brothers fondly call it. Under the directive of their present-day white man in power; the government has issued a travel ban on Nigerians who seek to permanently migrate to the United States. The administration claims that Nigerians have failed to meet strict US security measures and information sharing standards. As if to say that Nigerians are volatile people who can’t be trusted with the many opportunities America has to offer its citizens. Disguised with flimsy security concerns, the ban is in fact without doubt a continued version of white oppression and slavery in modern day global politics. Nigeria isn’t just home to 160+ million Nigerians, it is also home to thousands of American citizens and families who live and work here, it is also home to many American owned businesses that rake in hundreds of millions dollar profits by taking advantage of the reduced labour laws and less restrictive economic/financial structures in Nigeria. This is the part they don’t like to talk about, they only want to talk about Boko Haram as if the plague of terrorism isn’t a virus Africans caught from the white man.
With this travel ban, Trump has further enforced a structure where America can forcefully/financially benefit from Nigeria, the same one-sided exploitation that they created to build their railways, farms, factories and one of the richest economies in the world. This time, they are not physically killing us, raping our women and handpicking people for forced labour. Instead, they are implementing continued inflation, continued labour issues and continued underdevelopment. In 2018, Nigerian immigrants in the United States made over 14 billion dollars and 4 billion dollars in US taxes. Nigerians have been legally contributing to the American economy for years, making up a sizable portion of the work force, making investments, buying property and ultimately contributing to the universal goal of diversity. Every country has its fair share of fraudsters, corrupt politicians, infrastructural issues and many other problems. Yes, Nigerians have been touched by terrorism, we have felt the cold grip of war, the heartless glance of white supremacy, we have been called monkeys living in a shithole country, but we didn’t ask to be fractured and damaged by colonialism. To fault Nigerians for a system that benefits white men, who forced us into these system in the first place, is the most grandeur form of corruption.
The sad truth is that not enough Nigerians care that we get treated like criminals you can identify by a green passport because the will to survive distracts us from the root of our problems. Rich politicians and Nigerian billionaires will still buy apartments in New York. They will still fly their private jets and eat desserts we can’t pronounce, and their kids will never have to worry about how bad things are for Nigerians. Any form of prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that they are inferior is barefaced racism. Nigerians are gradually becoming more receptive to the call of black excellence/empowerment; we will no longer think of ourselves as inferior, we will keep working for excellence in the face of corruption and white supremacy, we understand that we are not criminals and we know we deserve to be able to migrate to America the same way Americans have freely migrated and continue to migrate here.
Emmanuel Sadi is a queer writer and human rights activist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He identifies as an openly gay man motivated by the feminist principles of equality and he has cultivated a successful eight year career in; Journalism, Program Management /Development & Content Creation.