A Questionable Deal with Qatar

The Verdict By Olusegun Adeniyi, Email: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

 The verdict olusegun By Olusegun Adeniyi: olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com

President Muhammadu Buhari was in Qatar last week and the major news that came out of the visit was the signing of Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Qatar to pave way for direct flights between major cities of both countries. While I continue to wonder whether any due diligence was done by the relevant authorities before committing Nigeria to such an agreement, there are pertinent questions as to whose idea this BASA deal is. Since Nigeria currently has no national carrier, it stands to reason that Qatar initiated the idea and that is where the problem lies: I don’t believe that the interest of our people was served by the agreement.

Early in January this year, I got a mail from a lady, Mrs Chioma Okigbo, narrating one of those unpleasant experiences to which Nigerians are usually subjected in their own country. On receiving the mail (with supporting documents), I immediately forwarded them to THISDAY aviation editor, Chinedu Eze, asking him to investigate the claims and give me a feedback. Since Mrs Okigbo’s enclosed her phone number, I also called to assure her I would follow up on the matter. It took Chinedu a week to get back to me but he confirmed Mrs Okigbo’s story. Now, this was what she wrote in her mail:

“Dear Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi,
“I felt a need to share an event that happened to me with you. On 19th November, 2015, I accessed Qatar Airways website with the intention of purchasing a ticket to visit Doha and Dubai. The visit to Dubai was the major reason for the trip as we had planned a reunion of our secondary school classmates from all over the world in that location. Having a friend working in Doha, I opted to leave Nigeria some days earlier than the planned reunion dates of 25th – 28th February.

“Before buying my ticket, I confirmed from the website that the airline was able to process visa for visitors to Qatar; in fact this information was very prominently displayed on their website. I proceeded to purchase my ticket and on Tuesday, January 19th, a month to my travel date, I visited Qatar Airways website again, this time to complete the visa process. The site redirected me to a website called Discover Qatar, which I believe is the official information center for all visitors to Qatar and had been set up by the Qatari government to provide accurate and timely travel information to visitors. I was required to complete a simple form but the first unpleasant surprise was that Nigeria was not listed among the countries under the pull down menu for Nationality. I found this curious and told my classmates that I had planned the Doha trip with a friend (who would be flying in from London) and she suggested that a country called Niceau was their own clever way of writing Nigeria. I decided however to contact the center and make proper inquiries.

“To my shock and utter dismay, I received an almost instant response from the website informing me that the government of Qatar does not issue visas to Nigerian nationals. This response upset me a great deal and raised a number of questions in my head: If we, as Nigerians are not good enough to visit their country, what exactly are they doing running an airline in ours? What is the Nigerian Government’s stance on Qataris visiting Nigeria? Do we issue visas to them or are they also not allowed in Nigeria? Why is the Federal Government of Nigeria allowing a company to run a business in Nigeria, whilst their host country feels we are all criminals?

“Anyway, I went to the Qatar Airways office where, by the way, I met some really nice Nigerians, and asked for a full refund. To add insult to injury, the airline will be deducting a 10 percent fee for cancellation! Where in the world is this fair and equitable? I felt that I needed to share this with you as I do not know the number of other unsuspecting Nigerians that would be affected by such discrimination.”

When THISDAY sought explanation for such discrimination against our nationals, the Qatar Airways Lagos Airport Manager, who simply gave his name as Hashim said: “for a Nigerian to get a Qatari visa, he ought to have a sponsor who is resident in Qatar; that is the new policy for those countries that are not listed among the nations that its citizens are allowed to visit the country (Qatar).”

And it is this same Qatar with which Nigeria has just signed a BASA deal!
For those who still may not get it, what we are dealing with here is not the usual impunity of some foreign companies operating in our country, the summary of Mrs Okigbo’s ordeal is that Qatar Airways operates and makes money from Nigeria yet our citizens are considered not good enough to enter their country like other nationals.
There are several critical issues here for both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Consumer Protection Council but I will highlight only two. First, Mrs Okigbo was practically fleeced of 10 percent of her ticket money because she did not embark on a flight to a country that would not give her a visa. Two, it is an official policy of Qatar to discriminate against nationals of Nigeria.

I believe that the humiliating experience of Mrs Chioma Okigbo should not be seen as a personal insult, it is a serious affront to our country. What is perhaps more worrying is that the presidential statement announcing the BASA deal went further to disclose that Nigeria has commenced discussions on partnership (with Qatar, I imagine) towards establishing a national carrier without providing any details.

Given that the nation’s aviation industry is currently going through financial crisis with many of our local airlines highly indebted, the Buhari administration has refused to answer the most pertinent question about this idea of national carrier that is being driven more by nostalgia than economic common sense: On what model will the flag carrier be based and what are the funding plans, especially at a time like this?

Again, coming up with a prestige project at a time Nigeria needs all the resources it can muster to meet pressing national demands betrays a clear lack of seriousness on the part of this administration. Against the background that even countries like Italy and others that are better managed have found running airlines a difficult proposition with most of them divesting from the business, I still fail to understand what is driving this obsession with national carrier. However, more pertinent is the question of why the latest announcement was made in Doha after signing the BASA deal.

Since our international aviation sector is very lucrative (Nigerians travel a lot and to everywhere in the world) and we currently do not have a national carrier, the implication of any BASA deal with Qatar can only be to the advantage of Qatar Airways. While I should not begrudge them for that, I hope the Nigerian authorities also have ready answers for the questions posed by Mrs. Chioma Okigbo. Yet, there is something in this untidy affair that should make one very sad. Apparently because we are now looking anywhere and everywhere for “foreign investors”, we don’t have a sense of shame anymore. But just how cheap can a nation be?

A Gathering of Great Ife!
Last Saturday night, the Abuja branch of the Great Ife Alumni Associations held its 2016 annual dinner. Among the several prominent graduates of Ife in attendance were the Minister Of Communications Technology, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu; JAMB Registrar and a former VC at Ife, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde; immediate past VC at Ife and current Secretary General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof. Mike Faborode; President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo and his wife, Justice Bimbo Adejumo of the Federal High Court, Ibadan Division, both of whom were graduates of Ife. There were also Prof. Ayobami Salami, DVC Academics; Mr. Wole Olaoye, a respected former students union leader at Ife and one of the brains behind the alumni associations; Secretary General, ECOWAS Parliament, Dr. Nelson Magbagbeola; House of Reps member, Hon Akintola Taiwo; Asst. Corps Marshal at the FRSC, Dr. Kayode Olagunju and several others.

I must commend the Chairman of the Abuja Branch, Elder Abiodun Akanji, his immediate predecessor, Mr. Omolaja Adisa Saibu and other (past and present) officials of the Great Ife alumni association for their commitment to the development of our alma mater. They are worthy ambassadors of Great Ife.

Last Saturday, the worldwide president, Mr Segun Oke, who spoke on behalf of the 37 Great Ife alumni associations represented at the dinner, highlighted some of the current projects being embarked upon at the campus to include the Alumni Guest House, a three-star hotel with about 120 rooms to be managed by an International Hotel Management group. There is also the Student Village which is to be constructed on 11.42 hectares of land and is projected to cost about N 7.5 billion. It will have 12 blocks of 312 rooms per block and will accommodate about 8,000 students.
To be executed on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, it is designed to have facilities for recreation, shopping, reading, ICT, eatery and banking while the fund for the project, according to Oke, has been secured. “We are presently at the stage of signing a tripartite MoU with the developer and the University. With this, we believe the current accommodation problem on campus will be drastically reduced. I am very sure this will be first of its kind in any Nigeria University. Great Ife always set the pace,” Oke said.

When it was his time to speak, Alhaji Shittu, a proud product of Ife law faculty, asked me a pointed but very loaded question from the podium: “Segun, which one did you attend: University of Ife or Obafemi Awolowo University?” When I replied him by saying, “both”, the audience laughed thinking I was joking. Well, I was admitted into the University of Ife in 1985 but graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University in 1989. In between, on 12th May 1987 to be specific, the name of the institution was unfortunately changed (many students were weeping openly) by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.

However, last Saturday, the “big guns” who attended University of Ife like the Hon. Minister Shittu (not to forget my brother, Edo Ukpong!), the ‘Eaglets’ who attended Obafemi Awolowo University like my sister, Mrs Josephine Mudashiru and the rest of us who attended ‘both’ mingled together in a night of fun. Meanwhile, I was invited to the dinner as guest speaker and my brief intervention dwelt on the roles alumni associations can, and indeed should, play as drivers of social change on our campuses. Below is my short dinner speech.
Four brothers attended the same University and they were all successful in their chosen fields. Several years after graduation, their alumni association was having its annual dinner as we are doing today and all the brothers decided to attend so they could catch up with one another. On that day, as the dinner was going on, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who lived far away in another town.

The first said, “I had a big house built for Mama.”

The second said, “I had an Olympic size swimming pool built in the house.”

The third said, “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her.”

The fourth said, “You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t
read anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty preachers 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute ten million Naira a year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot I bought for her will recite it.”

The other brothers were impressed, believing that the idea of getting a parrot to read the bible to their mother was an ingenious one. Well, as it would happen, in the course of the holiday, their mother sent out her Thank You notes. To the first she wrote: “Chukwudi, the house you built is so huge I live in only one room, but I have to clean the entire house all the time. Thanks anyway.”

And to the second, the message was: “Ibrahim, I am too old to travel. I stay home and I have my foodstuff delivered, so I never use the Mercedes Benz. But the thought was good. Many thanks.”

To the third, the mother wrote: “Omonla, you gave me an Olympic size swimming pool but I can no longer swim, so I will never be able to use it. However, I appreciate the gesture all the same.”

Finally, she wrote to the beloved son who sent the Bible-reading parrot: “Dearest Heineken, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken you sent was very delicious after cooking it. I cannot thank you enough for it.”

Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here tonight to join exemplary ambassadors of Great Ife as we reflect on our common bond. But first, I must commend the efforts of the executive members of this association and the representatives of 37 other Great Ife alumni associations who are here tonight for your doggedness in identifying with an institution that contributed significantly to making all of us what we are today.
This is a positive development because all over the world, universities, to a large extent, actually owe their survival and development to the vibrancy and enthusiasm of their alumni associations. Unfortunately, that is one critical resource we are yet to tap into in Nigeria.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am well aware that we are invited here tonight to eat and not to talk. But I have been conscripted to share a few thoughts on how our universities can invest in building loyal alumni associations as vital partners in the development of our campuses. I don’t intend to take more than a few minutes in doing that so we can all enjoy our dinner. However, I must point out, as I said earlier, that where alumni associations are concerned, we have not really started in Nigeria. What we have basically are social clubs by which some former students come together from time to time to network among themselves. I am sorry to say, in other societies, alumni associations represent more than that. Yet if there is any period in our history as a nation that we need the alumni associations to take ownership of their alma mater, it is now.

About three years ago, the Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities, identified common problems among Nigerian universities. Some of these challenges include but are not limited to lack of critical infrastructure like libraries and laboratories; preponderance of teachers lacking in requisite skills; poor learning environment and so on. These identified inadequacies and many other problems have contributed to the declining quality of education in our country.

It is therefore little surprise that a great number of graduates of Nigerian universities are said to be unemployable, as they lack sufficient knowledge and skills that will enable them to serve themselves, their employers and the larger society. This problem can easily be traced to the neglect that the sector has suffered over the years. Yet while inadequate funding has been one of the major impediments to the development of the education sector in our country, policy makers have not demonstrated the will to devise a way to address this challenge.

For instance, a 2012 World Bank table of the annual budgetary allocation to education by some selected countries placed Nigeria at the bottom, occupying the 20th position out of 20 countries selected. Nigeria’s yearly budgetary allocations to education constitute an average 10 percent of our national budget over the years. This pales in comparison to many other African countries and falls short of UNESCO’s recommended standard of at least 26 percent. South Africa allocates an average of about 25 percent, Cote d’Ivoire 30 percent, Kenya 23 percent and neighbouring Ghana 30 percent.

Given that the government will continue to find it increasingly difficult to meet up with its responsibilities, especially now with the dwindling price of oil, the administrators of our universities have to be more creative. To the extent that alumni associations represent a significant and vocal constituency in the education sector, I believe that our universities can begin to draw support from their ex-students. In doing so, the critical areas in our education system will be impacted positively.

Ordinarily, the main aims of an alumni association are to create a desire among ex-students to identify themselves with their university; to generate and sustain such interest and participation in the affairs of their alma mater; to contribute to the developments of the university and to promote the university’s name and reputation. But enlisting the support of alumni associations in funding demands hard work for which reaping can only come after years of investment in building sustainable relationship.

As things stand today, it will also take considerable efforts, time and planning as scholars in the field have pointed out. The point is that reaching out to graduates and long-time students of schools is a momentous task, specifically because it entails keeping track of the university’s database.

However, aside the challenge of record keeping in Nigeria, our universities still do not appreciate the enormous potentials that are in alumni associations in the area of fund raising. For instance, I spent just one academic session at Harvard University as a research fellow and ever since I completed the programme in May 2010, I have, on a daily basis received mails from the university on current developments, what alumni members are doing and so on. By identifying me as one of their own and keeping track of me, Harvard expects me to give back to the present and future generations of their students. It is a strategy that has worked for them and several other institutions of learning over many decades.

It was with that in mind, that I visited Ife about four years ago and seeing the decay for which I didn’t blame the school authorities and couldn’t have blamed them knowing their constraints, I decided to do a media intervention so I could raise the consciousness of others like me to whom Great Ife gave so much. The idea was to start a conversation that could galvanise past graduates of Ife to take ownership of the institution by giving back in such a manner that we would make it the centre of excellence and the most beautiful campus in Africa that it used to be. Unfortunately, the well-meaning intervention turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

Within days of the publication of my piece, respected professors, including those old enough to be my father were deployed to attack me in the media yet my intervention was without any malice. There was no word of abuse in the dictionary that was not deployed to demolish me by people whose cause I thought I was projecting. Incidentally, what I was trying to avert happened not too long ago with unedifying stories on the internet about the sordid ordeals of students on our great campus.

Even though I have put the incident behind me, following some well-meaning interventions from the campus, I was so hurt at the period that I resolved I was never going to have anything to do with Great Ife again. But it was easier said than done. And I want to say here tonight that I still want to be part of the efforts to use the alumni associations to begin to raise funds for the advancement of that great university that I love so much.
The point that needs to be underscored is that the involvement of alumni associations in fund-raising projects reflects a positive commitment to repay the institution for the education received and it is a major social phenomenon in many countries, with the United States being the best example. For instance, 42 percent of all alumni in the USA are donors. Statistics also reveals that about 25 percent of university graduates worldwide at some time give to their undergraduate institutions.

Therefore, as former graduates of Great Ife, we have a special and critical role to play as the bridge between the past, the present and the future. Yet, such supports need not be financial only. They can include the provision of infrastructures, stocking of libraries with relevant books and laboratories with important items of equipment. If we must secure the future, we must begin to defend the integrity of the learning spaces and those of us here in this room today can begin with Great Ife. We must collectively intervene to ensure development and progress in the reformation of the campus. Our interventions can come collectively or separately. What we should never forget is that there is great reward in giving back to the system that in a way impacted our lives. If we do nothing, the rot will continue and it may haunt us all in future.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, alumni associations in Nigeria are critical stakeholders in this whole process of reforming the education sector. All of us must see this as a call to duty. We must provide all the necessary support to drive change in this most critical sector. And if we are serious, we can use Great Ife as a model in that direction. As I take my seat, let me share with you a popular online story many of you must have heard or read before:
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite, telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones behind. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other’s cups. Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.”

So, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, don’t bother about the plates with which you are served tonight, just enjoy the dinner. But more importantly, never forget that in Great Ife we all have a tie that binds and we are family now. Thank you very much for inviting me here today. May God bless all of us. And may God continue to bless our own dear Great Ife.
· Remark at the 2016 Obafemi Awolowo University Alumni Association, Abuja branch Dinner on 27 February, 2016

  • morris desmond

    As i speak, i m currently in hamad airport and i am very disappointed with the way the nigerian passport is treated and all i can say is shame to our government. before my eyes i saw the way other nationals who are on transit like me and waiting to connect a flight for the next day was issued visa and allowed n granted an hotel outside the airport but delayed me for 45 min only for the help desk lady to come out latter and tell i n one other guy that the immigration did not grant visa and that nigerian nationals are not subjected to it plus she further advice me that next time i am booking, i should book and hotel inside the airport…wtf.
    This stupid airline chose an hotel for me, it wasn’t my doing…i just had to spend my 20 hours of lay over in the quiet room. i really feel humiliated, cheated, pained and disrespected by this country and honestly speaking our govt is sleeping….i cnt believe an opec country will do this to us…. we need to get back at them big time. i will never in my life fly qatar airways again nd i hate QATAR.

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  • CousinBrother

    Mr Adeniyi, thanks for this beautiful piece. Honestly, I think you need to do another piece on inferiority complex and if that does not work, you may want to do another on religious bigotry. How many countries in Africa has been visited by our president and how many BASA has been signed by the few ones he visited? Inferiority complex sets in when he visits the lighter skins countries. And more worrisome is the believe that religion comes before the nation! It is appalling.
    Anyway, thanks for the jokes. I am beginning to think that we should just concentrate on leaving our lives the best way we can whilst we consider government and governance as expensive cups.

  • niaja niaja

    Thanks Mr. Adeniyi! Buhari with all the social and economic uncertainty confronting us today singled Bilateral Air Travel agreement as the best we need from Qatar? Power, agriculture and infrastructure are all in shamble. Emirate will gain access to our market who fulfills our aspect of the agreement into Qatar considering the fact we have no national carrier? No airline of course! This informs all of us what our leaders place as priorities or as Mr. Trump calls it “Deal Making”.

    My appeal to some readers on this page is to disagree respectfully and stop insulting others just for disagreeing with you.

  • MI

    Even if Nigerians aren’t qualified for easy access to visa by Qatar and so many other countries around the world. Segun whose party help buried this country in mud should explain to Mrs Chioma that such bilateral talks are what it takes to correct such anormalies and strengthen ties between nations. Nigeria today is in a lesser or weaker position to skew everything to her advantage. Lots have gone wrong the past 16 – 30yrs that has left our country weak and vulnerable in the comity of nations, caused by senior Nigerian officials during those periods for personal / elicit gains. Today they are all massively rich with houses and masions littered all around the world, fat fat foreign accounts far beyond the need of their great great children. Yet the Seguns of this world will critize a government whose only mission is to correct the mistakes of the past, recover as much loot as possible, confiscate such properties both home and abroad, minimise looting, block leakages and so on.
    Unfortunately, these actions doesn’t go down well with Segun and many other columnists who consider these thieves of our common wealth as friends. And also, the crooks are not relenting in their efforts, they pay these writers Segun and likes, lawyers, judges etc to create false impression that they are being persecuted.
    Nigerians should know that, we have nothing to gain if these idiots walk away with our monies. We must support the govt to retrieve these stolen wealth and the criminals prosecuted for the benefit of our children and future generations.
    It’s no secret that many African countries are respected above Nigeria on issues of trust, visas and so on. Ghanaians can go places and secure visas at point of entry but not Nigeria. Ghanians often have far less requirement for visas as we do such as police report, Drug agency clearance for the visas of certain countries. Massive corruption, drugs, financial crimes has caused our country tremendous damage. Thanks to the PDP. Segun and his boss were part of it, used their newspaper and inks to support PDP all along. Segun couldn’t write as much again on the Dasukigate and so on, but critises good actions of the government.
    No matter what the Seguns of this world think, we truly thank God for Buhari, who surely understand where the damage control should start and how to strengthen our weak country and restore its lost glory.
    The president also understands that we have to hang our prides and egos in our closets and run around to pull in things that will support our growth as we are no more in vantage clime to dictate pace of things. Today so many countries jostle for the limited funds / investors available in a few nations China, India, UAE and another set from our old friends US and part of Europe. Presidents’ now do lots of PR work to gain some advantage for their countries but Segun claims to be ignorant of this. In our current situation, we literally have to force growth and do whatever that it takes to resuscitate our camatose economy, airlines and airport; trains and railways and many others. I don’t see the difficulty in reasoning as such. Mrs Chioma’s frustration is well understood, I advise her to report the incident to, I think the CPC to look into her case, nevertheless, such isolated incidents should not stop our country from signing agreements that ultimately we stand to gain the more and also such disappointment is not be faced by Chioma or any other Nigerian. again.

    • STEVE

      Waste of space

  • moribund9ja

    Where exactly is Buhari taking Nigeria?
    This is the crucial question that must be on every lip in this country.
    Jonathan was certainly not an option when Buhari was being offered as an alternative.
    So far Buhari has not proved to be a good alternative…. leading a rudderless govt.

  • Azubuike Anene


  • Irele ati ITELORUN

    Please what are the terms of the BASA that are not favorable to Nigeria? I read the write up and you forgot to mention one, or you are yet to read what you wrote about? Do we need a national carrier to have a BASA in place? simple rule in planning a trip- get your visa 1st! airlines charge for voiding tickets worldwide! the rules are not made for Nigerians only, I am amazed at this complaint. some classes of tickets are not even refundable once paid for! the terms of sales so stated. it is done worldwide.
    Nigerians don’t apply for Nigeria visa so we are not aware of what other nationals endure and pay officially and unofficially to get a Nigeria visa, yet we want to dictate to other nations how to run their visa processes while ours is deliberately cumbersome even to fellow African nationals.
    UAE nations grant e-visas to Nigerians with simple terms, tourism is their mainstay and they don’t deny qualifying Nigerians entry visas, I can attest to that, I have visited several times.
    Please, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, try apply for any Nigerian government service online and tell us about your experience. I have tried applying for Nigerian passport service reservation online in New York and I just cannot believe the stress Nigerians are subjected to due to greed of some govt officials to make money out of a simple process. we don’t treat Nigerians fairly in our embassies not to talk of foreigners.

    • Azubuike Anene


  • Kelly

    Once it’s a Muslim country, Buhari can sign any agreement no matter how stupid it will look. This just his mindset works. So pathetic

  • KlasJ

    Inability of Nigerians to get visa online is not restricted to Qatar only. UAE (Dubai) also do not allow it. Emirate Airline does not have Nigeria in its drop down list but has Niger! Etihad Airline used to have it but recently removed Nigeria. Why are we not calling UAE out?

    It has become penchant for Nigerian government to rush to sign agreements and even multilateral treaties that are of no or limited value to its citizens (may be to be seen as a good boy in international community) and unnecessarily over-celebrate it.

    Nigeria signed BASA with Isreal during Stella Oduah era and the Minister nearly declared a public holiday to flaunt it. No notable Israeli news media reported the agreement then. I don’t think Isreal has taken any action to activate/enjoy the provision of that agreement till today.

    Nigeria was supposed to exchange ambassadors with Qatar many years ago at the commencement of diplomatic relation. Nigeria immediately opened an embassy in Qatar then, it was not till last year that Qatar thought it fit to reciprocate by opening an embassy in Abuja. This is a country whose indigenous population is less than 3 million.

    If we sell ourselves short, people will buy us cheap.

  • Me

    The same visa challenge also affects travelers to Dubai. While the service is available for most countries including Sudan, Nigerians are not able to get visas online. Mean Emirates Airlines makes about four daily flights from Nigeria plus flights by Etihad. Our government really need to look at this issue quickly.

    • share Idea

      If those countries had wanted to change their stand against Nigerians, Buhari’s bashing of citizens both when he is inside and outside the country would not have helped matters. Nigeria we hail thee

      • “Korede

        Ask our leaders to change their ways. If Buhari bashing hurts, it also shows that we are now in a new era where Nigerians will now be respected worldwide.

        Do not blame Buhari instead blame all our previous leaders that stole the country blind and also enocurage their cabinet members to follow suit.

        • Mayo

          I beg to disagree. Buhari bashing doesn’t mean we are in a situation where Nigerians will now be respected worldwide. There is a right place and time for everything. Government officials should not be bashing their country outside. If you notice, the foreign press regurgitates those comments without bothering to verify them and then it sticks. For example the foreign press now refer to 20 billion dollars missing from NNPC, that Sanusi was fired because of it, that Nigerians stole billions of Naira (based on Lai Mohammed’s statement with no single proof)

        • STEVE

          Your emptiness of brain sulks!

          • “Korede

            Declare how much you received from the bazaar. A childish comment. EFCC will soon catch you if not yet caught.

  • fld8778

    Segun, I think you should have first investigated what the BASA details are and what the two countries are bringing on the table before jumping the gun and concluding that the deal is bad. Those issues related about treatment of nigerians badly is entirely another kettle of fish which should be dealt with from the proper context involving ministry of foreign affairs

    • Omini

      You are clearly a Buhari apologist, and the very worst kind as far as our country’s progress is concerned. Irrespective of the details of the BASA which you’re asking Segun to investigate, how can the BASA possibly advance the interest of Nigerians when Qatar does not grant our citizens visas to that country, not to mention the fact that we do not have a National Carrier?

      This is a revelation that should outrage every Nigerian with any iota of national self esteem, yet sadly you clearly possess none of that.

      …a Mallam Mugu, in all probability.

      • Full blooded Nigerian

        Does UAE issue visas directly to Nigerians without having a sponsor in their home country? Yet two of their major airlines fly in and out of Nigeria twice on a daily basis.

        Why did my compatriot, the lady in question buy ticket before obtaining visa? Did she read the terms and conditions of the purchase transaction she went into with the airline? Would she have bought a BA or Virgin Atlantic Airline ticket before obtaining visa to travel to the UK? Did she find out if the online advert for visa issuance was posted by a third party service provider?

        What was displayed, from the complainant to the columnist was sheer ignorance of the matter at hand.

        Thank you

  • amador kester

    Qatar is apparently too oil rich and fastidious like an overpampered adolescent that it seems to have no care in the world for any colorless nation that does not excite its slavemaster,s interest. And many people who signed contracts carelessly to work in qatar without diligent scrutiny of the contract terms end up as tenth century slaves in qatar with no hope of return from that tiny desert nation. There is nothing the UN Human Rights Commission can do about it. When qatar money speaks, truth is silent, or even pensive.. Makes no sense at all

  • DanielOsazuwa

    BASA is a common agreement between countries. We have several of that. This is a spin sponsored by the criminally mismanaged and failed airlines we have in Nigeria. They collect hundred of billions from Federal Government without convergence with their service deliveries.

    BASA is not limited only to National carriers but to whichever airline the country designate as their operator of that BASA. Aero, Arik are some of the private airlines filling Nigeria portion in BASA agreement Nigeria signed with such countries.

    Ghana and some banana republic get their visa to Dubai online when flying Emirate, but Nigeians are still subjected to going through an agent. It’s the country right to so designate.

    A lot of website(gmail, Amazon Apple etc) have no “drop down” for Nigeria when doing or performing some transactions due to their sad experiences with criminally minded Nigerians.

    It has nothing to do with the government.


    • Daniel Obior

      Is the signing of BASA the most important and urgent requirement now, for a country of 170 million in serious economic trouble? Buhari deserves to be bashed for his incompetence.

      • DanielOsazuwa

        In 2013 Emirate/Aviation contributed $26.7 or 27% of Dubai GDP and projected to contribute $53.1 billion or 37% of GDP in 2020 and employing 750,000. BASA is about aviation. Under a strategic partnership with a well managed foreign airline, the aviation sector can employ more Nigerians than the oil sector.

        After refine petroleum products importation, foreign airlines FX repatriation is next.

        • Daniel Obior

          You have not answered the simple question. I am talking about Nigeria. Is BASA the next most important thing in our present circumstance? Dubai is not Nigeria. Your inappropriate statistics do not answer the question.

          • DanielOsazuwa

            Drop your herd mentality and be analytical: only then will you be able to grasp and comprehend my earlier response to your bile laced comment.

          • Daniel Obior

            Misplaced analysis does not turn me on. You use it as a tool to cover your ignorance which you have copiously displayed in this forum. Answer the simple question.

          • DanielOsazuwa

            The sad aspect of your diatribe is your inability to know when to stop. The election is over! Wait till 2019 and then renominate your zoned Ph.D. holder from Otuoke.

            I don’t and I have never pan towards the mob on issues that affect me wellbeing in particular and Nigerians in general. Competence is built on ability to halt and reverse a deteriorating situations. These are the facts of Buhari stewardship since June 2015

            1. The FG is no longer borrowing to pay salaries like your competent zoned Ph.D. Holder from Otuoke. ( http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/Nigeria-borrow-to-pay-salaries). Even bailing out States to enable the, pay salaries WITHOUT BORROWING.

            2. Our financial drift to a hell hole halted. JP Morgan removed Nigeria from their EM bond index due to the mismanagement of the Naira/Dollars position in September 2015. Yet our 10 years bond yields is down from 16% in May 2015 to 11.87 in March 2016 ( see http://www.tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/government-bond-yield)

            3. The security situation is not yet eldorado but far better than what we had before May 2015.

            4. Is the economy doing well presently? NO! Is the government doing something to make it work better ? YES!!

          • Daniel Obior

            The federal government has not borrowed to pay salaries. But the same federal government has not executed any projects like Jonathan did. This useless government is going to put us in serious debt to finance its first budget. Jonathan did not. Your 10 year bond is currently down artificially like you have the Naira artificially pegged at 198 to the dollar. Common, be smart for a change. The economy is not doing well and the government is doing nothing sensible about it. If you believe BASA is the next urgent thing to do about the Nigerian economy, then you have your wires crossed, like your barely literate Buhari. And for your information, I will not stop till this government begins to govern properly instead of making excuses and spreading propaganda.

          • Nkechiorji

            Childish tantrum spice in clownish drool. Nativist !

          • Daniel Obior

            You are probably feeling hip with yourself that you have said something. Unknown to you, you are just silly. Address the issues, if you have any brain in your head.

          • Irele ati ITELORUN

            Facts are sacred, unassailable, devoid of emotions and personal opinion. Google is free, educate yourself 1st before going public with your ignorance. God bless you sir! I will repeat here again, Nigeria needs a national airline and it can be done without a Kobo of public money, come to think of it we have a 2nd national telecoms carrier, Globalcomms, doing great without public funds, same can be done with our National airline, we can leverage on huge market and even tie in other ECOWAS countries and we have a huge market that these GCC will beg to pay us to come in, bring in all the aircrafts needed, once we know what we are sitting on, we will get value.
            its a pity that partisan politics is killing Nigeria, elections are over, let us unite and help Nigeria get it right, we need all the jobs, and the aviation sector in labor intensive and it pays well too, it promises high growth also. Nigeria is a natural hub for aviation and maritime, Lagos, PH, Warri, Onne and Calabar for Maritime and for Aviation, Lagos, PH, Enugu, Abuja and Kano.
            Focus your investments only on the sure bets, highest ROI 1st and move down ladder to the next, no emotions just projected ROI.

          • Manuel Tobby

            Daniel it’s unfortunate that you will have to live with GMB as your president till 2019 or even more. GEJ and PDP have had there own opportunity to rule. So give this regime a space.

          • Daniel Obior

            I fully agree with you that is indeed unfortunate I and also the rest of the country have to live with an incompetent GMB till 2019. It is very sad. The regime does not deserve more space. It is fumbling in all directions. We must kick it in line.

          • its nt necessary to insult any1

          • Daniel Obior

            That GMB is incompetent is not insulting him. it is simply stating what is fact.

          • y nt jst ans d guy. he asked some questions. d least u could do is attempt to ans. if u hv no ans to his questions, say so. its as simple as dt.

        • Emirates employs 56, 725 pple, n not 700,000.

          • Daniel Obior

            Thanks again. This chap readily quotes statistics that are always wrong to impress that he is analytical. Most of it are lies, as you have shown.

      • Amen

        Stop wailing. Basa is part of the government plan to diversifying our economy.

        • Daniel Obior

          Is it the next most important thing in the circumstance, given you do not even have a national carrier at the moment? I will continue to wail when an incompetent government continues to make a fool of itself, and some like you are not even smart enough to realise.

          • i do believe dt buhari needs to sit down n work. i also believe basa is nt d most impt thing on our plate, however, basa is impt. d aviation industry is a vital part of any nation’s economy. uae has 2 airlines doing marvelously well; emirate n etihad. we can follow suit. thank u

          • Daniel Obior

            Thanks. You answered the question perfectly. I agree BASA is important and we both agree it is not the most important thing now. Let Buhari sit home and tackle the most important things instead of going around chasing shadows.

      • Manuel Tobby

        It’s quite unfortunate how many of leaders of tomorrow comes here and display plain ignorance ,please go ask Ethiopia what aviation visa viz basa has done to their economy.

        • Daniel Obior

          You miss the point. Aviation has done wonders for many countries. But, aviation is not the next thing for a country without a national carrier struggling for economic survival. If you deem it is, you probably are one of the leaders of tomorrow you claim display plain ignorance.

    • Mayo

      You have raised valid points as counter arguments to Segun’s position. Stick to that and not that this is a spin sponsored by mismanaged airlines unless you provide proof to back that up.

      Secondly, you have talked about gmail, Amazon and Apple (as examples) not having Nigeria as a drop down. First, both Gmail and Amazon have Nigeria as options. Secondly, for those that don’t, the question is – do they have an office in Nigeria (not a redistributor)? There is no Amazon office in Nigeria and Google has an office – we even have google.ng. There is everything wrong with a company have a corporate office/branch in a country and then refusing citizens of that country to participate in that company’s business or in something relevant/required for that country’s business. If it is because of their sad experiences with the citizens (which is quite possible), why are they still operating in the country then?

      • DanielOsazuwa

        Try changing your gmail password without the foreign phone number you used in setting up your 2 way security setting. Then come back and tell me about Google having Google.ng.

        • Mayo

          That is a different issue. You already have a foreign phone number attached to your account so it is expected that when you try to change your password, it will attempt to contact you on that phone number. Even banks in Nigeria will refuse to send alerts to a phone number that is different from what you have on their record unless you have physically come into the office to change your phone number.

        • y did u register wt a foreign no in d first place? im beginning to suspect u o


      Please there is no spin whatsoever here. Visa to the Emirate from Nigeria is also gotten via Emirate Airline if you are going on holiday from Nigeria as long as you book your hotel reservation and airfare through them. (It is not only in Ghana and your so called Banana Republic that it is applicable).

      This idea of not telling the President or his Government that there are wrong when the need arises are part of the major problems that we have in Nigeria.

      Read Mayos response to you below for further analogy.

      • KlasJ

        Visa to UAE for Nigerians is actually gotten via Emirate Holidays, a different company from Emirate Airline if you have to book for hotels. They stand as your sponsor,

    • Olusola Olamona

      Criminality only thrives in a misgoverned or badly governed society. Given that proper governance has been absent in Nigeria for a long time, absolving the Buhari government of shoddinesses typified in this transacted agreement will not helping the citizenry or the present government, who I believe is out to do a good job. They need all the policing and encouragement they can get. The task to make Nigeria better is gargantuan!

    • Omini

      Pls answer Yes or No: does Qatar have an official policy, as indicated in the correspondence that Segun quotes in the article, of not granting visas to Nigerians? If the answer happens to be Yes, then why should our government be entering a BASA with such a country? This is for me, the crux of the matter that this article highlights.

    • gmail has nigeria in d drop down menu.

  • Daniel Obior

    There is no level to which we cannot sink under a government headed by Buhari and APC. Surrounded by an inner advisory circle consisting of barely literate loyalists, what else do we expect? Of all the problems facing Nigeria including a serious economic debacle, an obviously one-sided BASA is what our president now feels requires urgent attention. How did we get here? Segun should answer this question, as he was one of the ubiquitous journalists who lied and schemed for this. It is hoped they are all seeing the wrong they have done the country. We have mapped a retrogressive path for ourselves and the journey is on. How sad.

    • share Idea

      It is more worrying when you put in perspective that we were told that the president was going to Saudi and Qatar to discuss falling crude oil price…

      • Daniel Obior

        Shows the man is completely out of his depth and simply does not know what he is doing.

    • Yusufsdankama

      I believe you can testify that its a not government of incompetent and clueless, pathetic, a phony and a fraud.Its actions are always in the best interest of the country which your pay masters has destroyed.

      • Daniel Obior

        You may live in your dream world of ignorance as it is obvious you have no clue what the best interest of the country is. The present state of confusion and lack of direction is in the best interest of the country? I would not stoop so low to accuse you of being in anyone’s pay. You are so dumb you see contrary views as views in people’s pay. How pathetic.

        • Yusufsdankama

          That the best interest of the country is to loot the country’s resources and divert public funds meant for the purchase of weapons and ammunition for the military. The confusion for the EFFC to discovered a million USD in in my bedroom and the direction for my party chairmen and loud speaker in appear in court for alleged sharing and diversion of national funds into their private use.

          • Daniel Obior

            You do not make sense and best ignored.


    Thank you very much Segun for following up and publishing Mrs. Okigbo’s ordeal which highlights one of the several ways that our inept leaders keep selling us short and never protecting their own rather they keep painting us all with the brush of corruption.

    Kindly review all the bilateral agreements that we have signed and you would see that Nigeria had always being on the short side of the stick.

    Why would the present Government embark on such agreement which obviously would not rank among the top 100 priorities of the country now.

    Every single day that goes by keeps confirming that the present Government are just chasing shadows, full of noise but no substance.


    This brilliant article is typical of Segun and we really appreciate his contributions to the profession of journalism.
    When the Qatar agreement was announced I had immediate doubts and misgivings about it because unfortunately, these Arab countries give you a feeling that they do not rate Africans with much intelligence.
    However, the evidence is that they are not worth the esteem they profess for themselves. So, one sees misplaced arrogance and self deceit that should not be encouraged by this agreement.
    Since the second coming of General Buhari as the President of this country I have often wondered what his thoughts about governance are and if he ever had any ideals to implement for our country and our citizens.
    So, this BASA agreement where we will not make any input other than allow Qatar to cart away our resources, is whimsical, basically wrong and ill thought out.

  • Yemi

    Mr. Segun kindly find out about the crimes Nigerians are perpetrating in Qatar which has led to the denial of visas. Some are crimes never heard of in Qatar. It is very saddening. We used to be highly respected but now I cringe anytime Nigeria comes up in the local papers here thinking: what next have my people done? It is a very safe country and I am sure they want to keep it that way.

    • Okunwa

      Then they should stay away from us. There are several profitable destinations for them to fly to keep making their money.
      I had a bitter experience at Doha airport in 2013 on return trip from US. As a rule, everyone with a US visa is entitled to a night stay in hotel in town. On sighting my green passport I was asked to stand aside while others were allowed in & taken into town for the night. On realizing this I raised hell. It was then they checked my passport to confirm that I had a US visa! And was only transiting. They made tepid apologies & put me up in the Lounge for the 13hrs lay by. It was agonizing. That’s the last I flew that airline! And I never will. That BASA should be cancelled or suspended till the entry visa issue is sorted out pls.

      • Azubuike Anene


        • Emeka Ikedi


    • ‘ned

      You are all criminals! We want to partake of the proceeds of your criminal enterprise but please do not come to our country. Fantastic.

  • Senky

    Great piece as usual, Segun. Professor Dibu Ojerinde was never a VC at Ife. Please, cross check this fact. Thanks…

  • Omooba

    My advice to the Alumni is to ensure those structures are built to either C&D or JB standards for posterity, safety and security. I have had cause to visit a number of our tertiary institutions and can confirm that they are made of “mushroom” structures. Even the great UI is not left out considering post 1980 structures erected on the campus. Whereas others before were of Cappa & D’alberto standards though poorly maintained over the years. Just a timely advice though since the amount quoted should be able to meet even Julius Berger bill that would guarantee an enduring legacy.