Monday, July 31, 2006

Scotland Yard's poisoned chalice, unimpressed by Londonstani and Alentejo Blue and a ridiculous requirement

Scotland Yard has just been handed a poisoned chalice. Detectives from Scotland Yard have arrived in Nigeria, at the invitation of the Nigerian government to help unravel the truth behind the assassination of Funsho Williams, the politician brutally murdered in his bedroom in Lagos last week. Call me a cynic but I suspect the motivation of the Nigerian governement in inviting them. Working in unfamiliar terrain, arriving almost 24 hours after the event and lacking the necessary infrastructure/materials (CCTV etc), I suspect they'll have their work cut out. And if they fail, I can just imagine the Nigerian government crowing "Well, even the experts from Scotland Yard couldn't crack it, so you can't blame us, can you?"

I finished Londonstani and my verdict remains- readable, insightful but not a great book. Not even the not wholly plausible last minute sting in the tale saves it from being an average read. And to think some people were actually talking about it being nominated for the Booker...

Ditto for Alentejo Blue, Monica Ali's latest book, after Brick Lane. It's beautifully written- great prose and vivid pictures, but there's just too much going on. As she attempts to chart the lives of the inhabitants of a Portuguese village in the Alentejo, it feels as if she's trying to cram in every snapshot, every vignette, every story thread that she's ever stumbled across in the Portuguese village where she apparently owns a house with her husband. She should probably have focussed on four major characters max, or as an alternative written a much fatter book to allow all the different stories play out properly.....

Two weeks ago, I had an e mail forwarded to me from a friend. Apparently the Nigerian Immigration Service had cancelled a whole bunch of passports and circulated the numbers without informing the passport holders. So some people had found themselves refused entry at airports because their passports had been cancelled. I was sent a link to the NIS website http://www.immigration.gov.ng/index2.htm to make sure that my passport was not on the list displayed there. Thankfully it wasn't but what I did stumble across was this list of requirements for obtaining a Nigerian passport , http://www.immigration.gov.ng/passportypes.htm which for married women apparently includes a letter of consent from their husbands. There is no similar requirement for married men. Not too long ago, Jeremy Weate of naijablog published a post that began "it's 2006 abroad but in Nigeria it's 1956". That post provoked a lot of angry comment. Methinks that as far as this ridiculous requirement stands it's the 19th century in Nigeria. Do Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dora Akunyili and Oby Ezekwesili and the rest of Obasanjo's amazons know about this requirement? I sense an opportunity for a brief, effective campaign, any takers?

11 comments:

Chxta said...

Jeremy was right.

My Talking Beginnings said...

I didn't know about the passport issue...Nigeria will change when Nigerians admit its failings.

ayoke said...

Sounds true, that part about the reason for having the Scotland Yard people here.

Aaron Rowe said...

That passport issue is very intriguing. If you someone should mobilise a campaign against this, I can point some highly respected Nigerian Wives in your direction.

An advert in 'Ovation' magazine should stir up all the support needed.

I understand if there are religious reasons for a married woman to require her husbands permission to get a passport, but no government should be empowered to enforce that.

My guess is that married women are able to get passports without this anyway, since so few people have heard of this requirement before. But who knows... Nigerians do love bureaucracy.

Megaphone of Poetry said...

Its particularly sadening that Engr Williams should die under the circumstances he did. Its surprising that Nigeria is still battling the weight of her pernicious past where politics is a do-or-die affair. I am really grieving for Funsho's family.

About Scotland Yard Police in Lagos, thats surprising but I think the Government have genuine intentions. I do not want to subscribe to the usual Nigerian ideas of seeing every government move as negative or deceptive. Whoever invited the UK police, I think they mearnt well. Some arrests have been made and it seems there is going to be some developments afterall...however, I will not be surprise if the whole thing fails and nothing comes through.Lets hope for the best.

Megaphone of Poetry said...

Its particularly sadening that Engr Williams should die under the circumstances he did. Its surprising that Nigeria is still battling the weight of her pernicious past where politics is a do-or-die affair. I am really grieving for Funsho's family.

About Scotland Yard Police in Lagos, thats surprising but I think the Government have genuine intentions. I do not want to subscribe to the usual Nigerian ideas of seeing every government move as negative or deceptive. Whoever invited the UK police, I think they mearnt well. Some arrests have been made and it seems there is going to be some developments afterall...however, I will not be surprise if the whole thing fails and nothing comes through.Lets hope for the best.

roberts udah said...

Thats nigeria politics for you. Too bad they had to kill the gentle man. Who knows, Engineer funsho williams migth have stepped on someones toes and the person resorted to assasination

ayoke said...

Gosh! Would you believe I didn't read the whole post the first time. I just read the first part; I didn't read the part about the Immigration bit. It's crazy! It's part of the discrimination women face in Nigeria. I had written on the Constitution here.

You need takers? I'm on.

Anonymous said...

Have been reading your blog on and off for the past few months and always find your comments on books, Nigeria, UK and more v. interesting - just never enough time to comment in detail. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Emeka said...

guy, you cant begin to understand how annoying it was when i had to make a new passport and i was told to get a letter of consent. i really thought we had past that stage. i hasd to u se a round about method to get the passport without the letter becos i knew 4 sure i wasnt doing that. we really need to do something about this.

runaway said...

hahaha i did get a letter of consent from my husband but that was 4 d british embassy and i wrote it myself what do u expect anyway until nija starts to pull her acts together nothing ll actually work every1 ll get a passport if they actually want 1 .