Sunday, 5 February 2017


       Mass expulsion among nations is usually carried out by host countries for economic reasons, although, occasionally, they signal deterioration relationships between the countries concerned. Millions of Nigerian immigrants have been expelled from many Africans countries for economic and political reasons, long before now.
Dr James at Accra, Ghana

1969 - Ghana, under President Kofi Busier government, enacted the Ghana enterprises decree and back dated to 1968. Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, many born in the former Gold Coast and others leaving there for upwards of 30 years, were expelled and their businesses transferred to Ghanaians. Nigerian's were not allowed to leave with their belongings. Among the government reasons were that Nigerians were relatively ‘over prosperous’ and that many of them were sent to Ghana by Kwame Nkrumah, whose government was overthrown.
1971 - Congo Leopoldville (Zaire), President Mobutu Sese-Seko sent Nigerians parking out of his country, not minding the fact that Nigeria soldiers died to maintain peace in the Congo, under the UN Peace Corp.
Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985 from the M.M Airport

Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985 from the Apapa seaport

Foreigners departed Nigeria in 1985 in trucks like this

1972 - Equatorial Guinea, President Francisco Macías Nguema carried out mass expulsion of foreigners described as illegal aliens, including Nigerians.
1978 - Gabon, President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba deported all illegal immigrants, including thousands of Nigerians.
When Nigeria asked illegal aliens to go, Africa and the world wondered why. It was President Shehu Shagari Government on January 17, 1983, that first ordered the over 2million illegal immigrants, including 1.2 million Ghanaians to vacate Nigeria. The Shagari government then released 600,000 Naira to ECOWAS member states affected by the expulsion to assist them in resettling the expelled people. The cheque for the amount was presented to the ECOWAS President, Mathew Kerekou of the Republic of Benin. But Ghanaian president J. J. Rawlings, deeply angered by the expulsion, rejected the grants saying Ghanaians were no beggars. At the end of the action, Africans legally resident in Nigeria were Ghana 6,460; Niger 1,251; Chad 717; Cameroun 317 and Togo 298.

Foreigners departing Nigeria 1985

Foreigners trekking away from Nigeria 1985 from Illela border post

On April 15, 1985, the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs under the Federal Military Government of General Muhammed Buahri ordered the massive expulsion of immigrants from Nigeria, the aliens, conservatively estimated then to be about 700,000 were to ’regularize’ their papers or quit Nigeria voluntarily by May 10. Internal Affairs Minister then, Mohammed Magoro announced "No extension would be granted, all illegal aliens must leave Nigerian soil for their countries. The Federal Military government reasons were that some aliens were misusing the ECOWAS agreement by coming in illegally without traveling document and overstaying the stipulated period; that uncontrolled influx will aggravate unemployment and criminal activities like smuggling and armed robbery.

The departure points were the Idiroko border, Badagry border, Sokoto-Niger border, Calabar Cameroun- border, Murtala Muhammed International airport, Apapa sea port. Some immigrants started trickling out through the airport almost immediately after the April 15 announcement, others waited till May 3, when Nigeria temporarily opened her border to facilitate their movement. On the morning of May 3rd, at the Idiroko border, about three hundred illegal aliens waited to pass through the borders assembled on the lawn of the border post, yelling and jumping. Immigration and Customs officials were in total confusion, because of the refusal of the Republic of Benin border guards, who refused entry to non-Beninois to pass through. Their fears was that there was no transit camps for the multitude. No drinking water, no food. The Area Administrator of the Immigration and Customs at Idiroko, I. A. Bolanta was as confused as his staff. The other four security agencies, the NSO, the police and the army intelligence involved in the exercise at the Idiroko borders were also worried on what to do with the massive crowed at the border. Major W. Ekpon of the Nigerian Army was in charge of security.

May 10, 1985 - By 6:00pm, all immigrants who were not cleared for their home- ward journey were escorted to the harj transit camp at the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos, from where they were taken to the Apapa port in batches for the trip home by sea.
May 12, 1985 - Two days later, hungry and angry Ghanaians and other nationals went on the rampage around the international airport, burning bill boards and throwing rocks at passersby. It took the police 3 hours to restore order, and many of the rioting aliens managed a smile after the then Lagos Police Commissioner Saminu Daura assured them that adequate arrangement were made for their journey back home. The Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria then was Brigadier K. Adu-Bediako, who worked with his country's government to make their journey a success. That same day the first ship load of illegal immigrants sailed for Ghana’s terminal port of the MV River Jiminy. Another batch left the following day on the MV Oshun.

While the Beninois walked in easily into their country, the Ghanaians had to wait for Togo to approve their passage. Each immigrants was allowed to take out only 20 Naira by the Nigerian officials. Excess were confiscated by the Customs, who recorded how much were ceased on a sheet of paper against the name of the alien. Initially, Benin officials were willing to allow the Ghanaian through, only if they will be taken directly to the Aflao border between Ghana and Togo, without stopping over on Benin territory for a fare of 30 Naira per passenger. Nigerians officials said only 20 naira was allowed each immigrant, and that plan did not work. Though Benin agreed somewhat reluctantly to open partially its borders, from 3.00am – 5.00pm daily for the exercise.

Apapa seaport 1985, as foreigners depart

Foreigners must go, 1985

Aliens heading home from Niger Republic, Benin and Mali through Sokoto, had a smooth journey. Some of the aliens escape with their employers belonging through illegal root and the sand of the Sahara. For example OsiKeth Kofi and Simon Baffor Anane, both Ghanaians, were intercepted at the Niger end of the border and returned to Illela post in Nigeria, after it was discovered that they stole 6,500 naira belonging to their employer, Mr. Titus Awoyele, director of Kwalala guest inn, Sokoto.
Ghanaians who went by sea, paid 150 naira per passenger, the ships used included M.V Adama, Olokun, the Ferial. By air, the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos was open for the Nigerian Airways and Ghana’s national carriers were on ground to fly their passengers, Lagos-Accra was 44 Naira.
It was this period that illegal aliens mostly planning on how to go back to their country without carrying the common tin-box, came out with the common bag that is so popularly now called "Ghana Must Go".

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