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Tuesday, September 26, 2023
HomeEditorialNigerians in India are one of the largest African communities in the...

Nigerians in India are one of the largest African communities in the country

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african, nigerian, nigerian in mumbai, mumbai police
Image: BBC World

As of now, there are about over a lakh Nigerians living and working in India. These Nigerians have a negative public image because some Nigerians are involved in illegal activities in India such as drug trafficking, drug abuse, prostitution trafficking, fraud and forgery of travel documents, such as passports and visas, and trafficking in stolen documents. There are also hundreds of known Nigerians in various jails across India. Nigeria itself treats its people poorly. They do not care for their people. Why should other people care for them?

Nigerians are involved in drug peddling as are Russians, Israelis, British nationals and yes, some of our beloved fellow Indians. African drug peddlers are just like all the other peddlers out there. India is the most preferred location for education for Nigerians. They come on trading or business Visa or study visas. Once they settle in their herd, they plan an illegal way of luring the Indian gullible population. From fishing to doping, they trap people by extracting money. Africans and especially Nigerians are considered to be economically backward countries; India gives them opportunities to earn money and educate themselves. Most of the Nigerians in India never return. They destroy their passports and stay in their colonies for years. There is no check on their visit.

There are lots of Indians in Nigeria (about 300,000 compared to a lakh of Nigerians in India). These Indians work in Nigeria and many are millionaires. Nigerians are asking a big question of why they are accepting Indians in Nigeria, while Indians are being hostile to Nigerians in India. The biggest reason, Indians never sell drugs, they are nonviolent and above all, they are contributing to the economy of Africa. Most of the Indians in Africa are the investors and business groups who create revenue for their nation. You will hardly find any Indians in foreign jails doing illegal activities.

You will find foreign nationals detained in India’s prisons; most are in for drug-related offences. Dealing with Nigerians is not very easy because a strict action here endangers innocent Indians living in Nigeria. Police officials say Nigerians are aggressive business owners and undeterred by arrest. The police could not penetrate the Nigerian drug gangs that have links with global cartels. Though We Mumbai people are very tolerant of migrants; let it be Bangladeshi or Africans. There are vast places allotted in their name. There are restaurants and trades in Mumbai. They are the representatives of fortune in faraway lands, but the fount of those beckoning fraud emails that promise a lottery win in, all these scammers live in Mumbai’s very own backyard — Mira Road, Pila house, Nagpada and Byculla.

 ‘Nigerianwadi’ at a 20-minute walk from the Mira Road railway station, the IP addresses of almost all the computers from where these fraud emails originated hint at Mira Road. Mira Road provides the fraudsters with perfect camouflage. A fast-growing suburb, it affords them the anonymity they desperately need and the inexpensive one-room rented flats that go for as little as Rs 5,000 to 8000 a month. The word Nigerianwadi was coined by police officers who were frequently roughed while trying to pick up a suspect in a scam or a drug case. Many of these Nigerians now migrated to other areas, including Nalasopara, Vasai and Virar.

These Nigerians are not only drug addicts, but violent. Police officers openly admit that it scares them to detain Nigerian suspects from the locality. They are physically strong and go to any length to resist cops. The African drug network has been notoriously difficult to tackle, and more often than not, the dealers give cops a slip. But running from the police is not the only way the criminals have held on to the drug trade in Mumbai for so long. Following the example of illegal immigrants across the world, the African drug pushers tear up their passports as soon as they arrive in India to avoid deportation. The peddlers at a time refuse to disclose their nationality, and despite searching their homes, mobile phones, and other belongings, the cops hardly find any clues. The peddlers have even figured out that getting arrested can help them stay on longer in the country. Many of them try to get arrested on purpose since we cannot deport them until the investigation and the court case ends. This could take several months or even years.

African peddlers tell the police that there is so much poverty in their countries that they keep getting arrested so they can stay in India. So far, they have deported only two peddlers to Nigeria since 2017, even though the police arrested 45 African dealers in the same period (29 in 2017 and 16 in 2018). Apart from charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and the Maharashtra Police Act, the police have now also added offences under the Passport Act, for illegal entry and concealing their citizenship. These Nigerians are a dangerous liability to our country’s economy. Most Nigerians even prefer to stay in brothels. The sex workers find it safe keeping them around, and they are physically strong and can protect these women against any nonsense. Losing at these men and their violent approach, the customers try to be grounded. The cost of keeping them is just space in the corner and two meals. These Nigerians pay a better amount than the local customers, and the sex workers in Mumbai play a crucial role in sheltering these drug peddlers.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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