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Looking for a T-shirt labelled ‘I am not Nigerian’

About 1000 Nigerians are languishing in Chinese jails; one out of every five Nigerians in Thailand is serving a jail term, about 1000 Nigerians in British jails and 500 are in Brazilian jails.

Actually, Britain, having been overwhelmed, has resolved to send Nigerian convicts in Britain home to the oil-rich nation.

Now, am Malawian, why would I even be concerned about Nigerians, one would ask. Well, in my answer, I would say as long as you are African, be concerned.

Simply put: because I look like an average Nigerian and some Nigerians are known to be criminal, I get labeled as probably Nigerian and therefore potentially a criminal.

Some will whine and say Nigerians are targeted. Surely there are some Nigerians who are not only right thinking men, but also great personalities. To that end some might say this post is thus anecdotal…

But if 20% of people of a certain nationality are in jail in another country (Thailand), then we should start to ask tough questions.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to China, Aminu Bashir Wali is on record saying 80% of the crimes committed by Africans in China were committed by Nigerians and added that most of them drug related.

A friend from Beijing told me that if you are a foreigner in Beijing, you are likely going to be approached by a Nigerian-sounding guy offering drugs, shamelessly.

Yes, there are 170 million Nigerians and the high crime statistics might be proportionate to the population, but there are about a billion Indians, 300 million Americans and about 200 million Brazilians why are they not clogging foreign jails?

Try hitting on a woman online, they see you are African and think you are Nigerian and think you are a scammer, since more internet scams are traced to Nigeria(ns).

Try to pay using a 100 RMB note and your money gets the biggest verification as if you have a triad tattoo showing under your sleeve.

A Chinese friend who sits on an international inquiries desk says she usually ignores emails from Africa because some are ‘just scammers.’

I really get very bothered with this; if there was a T-Shirt saying ‘Am not Nigerian’ I would buy it.

The crimes: drugs, petty theft, fraud and rape… Rape! What does an African away from Africa need to rape for when every woman out there has heard of the stereotype of their superiority in bed and endowment and likely to give if asked?

Osita Osemene, a Nigerian of substance, told Channels TV (yes, Channels TV is a TV) that the ‘get rich quick’ syndrome among Nigerian youth is responsible for the increasing number of Nigerians in prisons in China.

Some analysts say that economic conditions at home force some Nigerians into crime, but I laugh off such analyses; there is no African country that doesn’t have tough times, not one.

Nigeria is clamouring for a seat at the Security Council and always competing with South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa but I wonder how its citizens play like they are from Somalia, a failed state.

And the government of Nigeria seems to be happy at the berserk nature of some of its citizens: When India wanted to start mass deportations of Nigerians living illegally in the resort district of Goa, Nigeria government India.

This was even after reports that of 51 Nigerians arrested in Goa that week; only one had a valid passport. One.

And it’s not just outside Africa, in my country, Malawi, it is becoming a common story to hear of a scam pulled by a Nigerian, I know of a Nigerian pastor who was caught with fake passports copies in his laptop while operating a church in Malawi.

And the crime that shocked Britain, the Lee Rigby killing, was done by Michael Olumide Adebolajo, and Michael Adebowale…all traceable to Nigeria and so is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber.

I would like to stay neutral and chip in some Pan-Africanism, but if wherever I go, some Nigerian has already been there and spoiled the gig for me, I have to call him out.

And I never said I am a saint, nor are Malawians – I just want to live free and be judged for my actions not of those that look like me and who happen to come from Nigeria.

Robert Mugabe pointed out another of Nigeria’s woes this week saying Zimbabweans are becoming corrupt like Nigerians and Nigeria has again been rallying its defensive machinery – but no one will pause to ask why Mugabe would say that being the pan-Africanist he is.

And as much as this post will be hated, the behavior of a few Nigerians is impacting all Africans including some upright Nigerians. The solution is in Nigeria and in that solution, Africa’s fate.

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