Reports have indicated that authorities Cabe Verde on Friday prevented three Nigerians from entry into the country while allowing white travellers in.
Teni Tayo, a Nigerian and African development expert who was one of the three Nigerians shared her experience on Twitter.
Tayo said in a tweet Friday that she was stranded in Dakar, the capital of Senegal after she was deported by authorities in Cape Verde.
“So I got deported today. Mostly because I am black but also because I am Nigerian,” she wrote in one of her tweets.
She noted that she arrived at the airport in Praia with a group of other travellers which included “an Italian couple, my Sudanese-American friend, a Spanish couple, a Kenyan, an Ivorian, a Jordanian, a Guinean and four Nigerians.”
All white travellers as well as “my black friend with an American passport” were passed, she alleged, adding that those with a Nigerian passport were denied entry.
According to her, they were prevented alongside a Jordanian, whom she said she believed “was lumped with us because he has Nigerian visas in his passport.”
The airport authorities told them they were turned back due to COVID-19.
“Then we asked why the white people and my American friend were let through. They said they decided who could stay and who could go. So everyone with a Western passport went through. In West Africa,” Tayo said.
“We had all the entry requirements. The pretext, despite lack of pre-information, was that holidays are not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions,” she added.
Nigerians have since been calling on their government to investigate these allegations.
Some recalled their experience in the hands of authorities in the Portuguese-speaking archipelago and island country in the central Atlantic Ocean.
This was as some other nationals joined the Nigerian commentators by accusing the government of the tiny nation of having racists tendencies.
A Twitter user in South Africa, Khrist, said she has had similar experience when she travelled to Cape Verde.
“I’m South African and had the same issue in Praia. I got detained in that airport named after a South African struggle hero,” Khrist wrote, referring to the Nelson Mandela Airport located on the island of Santiago in the capital city of Praia.
“I was saved by a friend who alerted the SA embassy in Dakar,” the twitter user added.
Cape Verde Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva declined to comment when reached Saturday. The country’s head of internal affairs, Carlos Reis, also could not be reached for comment; his number was unreachable.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission boss, has said home authorities will investigate the complaints by the Nigerians.
“Pity this happened to you but it’s important we get the full story and all sides of the story properly documented,” she tweeted Friday.
In recent time, there has been subtle surveillance on the Nigerian twittersphere which has in recent weeks been trending with calls for the release of a political detainee, Alex Saab.
Saab, a Venezuelan diplomat, was arrested in June by the Cape Verde authorities during a stopover at Amilcar Cabral International Airport on the Island of Sal.
Despite mounting calls for his release, the government of the small Island has ignored those calls, though the Venezuelan government said he was on a humanitarian mission to Iran from Venezuela.
It is believed that his arrest warrant was issued by Interpol at the request of the United States, which is opposed to the regime of Columbian President Nicolas Maduro, a close ally of Saab.
According to a report by Al Jazeera, Donald Trump, former US President had made Saab’s extradition a top priority, at one point even sending a Navy warship to Cape Verde to keep an eye on the captive and scuttle any plans by Venezuela to try to sneak him out of jail.
Observers believe the growing demand for his release in Nigeria could have contributed to the stiff travel restrictions against Nigerians wanting to gain entry into the African archipelago.