Posted by Transport & Business Express | 19 July 2012 | 3,185 times
A quiet ban from entering military barracks in Nigerian may have been placed on whites, irrespective of whether they are Nigerian citizens or not. The ban appears to have been placed by the administration of Dr. Bello Haliru, who was removed as Minister of Defence on June 22 by President Goodluck Jonathan. Bello has yet to be replaced.
Because the ban has not been made public, it is leading to avoidable embarrassment even to whites who have reason to go to military barracks even if they do so in company of their Nigerian companions. Fola Daniyan, a Lagos-based veteran medical doctor, and his wife fell victim to the ban last Saturday, July 14. Dr. Daniyan and his wife of 40 years were prevented from entering Ikeja Cantonment because his wife is oyinbo or white.
Relating their sad experience in an internet forum, Dr. Daniyan said: ‘Saturday, the 14th of July, is a day I’ll never forget. It was a day that I realized that in Nigeria the more things change, the more they go from bad to worse.
‘My wife and I were invited to a wedding reception at the Ikeja Cantonment of the Nigerian Army. However, we weren’t just going as regular guests, as I had been humbled by the bride and groom with a request to be the Chairman of the Wedding reception. Not one to say
no, I agreed.
‘The wedding was due to start at 2pm; in light of the role I was to play, and in order not to be the cause of any delay in the ceremony, my wife and I made sure we got there before 2pm, we actually arrived at 1:45pm.
‘Once we got to the gate, we were stopped by three security officers, one had on a blue shirt with black trousers, one had on the green apparel of the military police, and the third was in civilian
clothing. The officer in the blue uniform asked the driver to lower the window so he could speak to him. The driver complied with the request, only to be asked to lower the windows in the back as well so he could speak to the people in the back seat (my wife and I). Again, the driver complied.
‘At this point in time, the security man took a look at my wife, who incidentally was dressed in Aso Ebi and then declared “Madam, you cannot enter the barracks!”
‘ “Why?” my confused wife asked, to which he replied “Can’t you see you are Oyinbo, the Ministry of Defense has declared that no Oyinbo is allowed to enter any military barracks and that is final!” “Kilode” my wife replied in Yoruba, stating that she is Oyinbo in skin only,
having lived in Nigeria most of her life.
‘On my part, trying to appeal to his common sense, I asked him if it would make a difference that my wife and I had been married for about 40 years, with 30 years of our union being spent residing in Nigeria, and that she was also a Nigerian citizen by virtue of marriage. Getting
rude and impatient, the officer retorted by saying he doesn’t care if she had been in Nigeria for 100 years, she was not coming in as “Oga had given the order.”
‘I asked if I could see the C.O, to which he replied with a “No.” I then proceeded to ask what his name was, to which he replied “Intelligence at the gate is my name,” obviously getting impatient he then indicated that I can come in, but my wife was barred, and if I dared argue further, he would ensure our “vehicle got shattered with bullets.”
‘The whole encounter left me wondering. Is it possible that one man at the gate of a public institution can decide to unilaterally create laws that go against the laws of the land? After all, nowhere in Nigeria’s Constitution is freedom restricted based on skin color.
‘Ultimately, we decided to leave the officer at the gate to his own devices, called the bride and groom to say we would not be able to make it in, and went about doing what we had on our agenda for the rest of the day.’
*Photo: Ex-Minister of Defence Bello Haliru
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