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Govt denies Nigerian man was criminalised at JKIA

By Sigomba Ramadhan Omar | January 1st 2020

Michael Ernest at an Airport in Maputo. He accused immigration officers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport of mistreating him. [Photo Courtesy]

The Immigration Department has denied treating a Nigerian man as a criminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on December 27 last year.

Michael Ernest ranted on his Twitter page, alleging that immigration officers harassed him when he was about to leave Kenya for Maputo, Mozambique.

He alleged that the officers termed him a criminal after suspecting that he might have faked his ticket.

"I arrived Kenya 21st and today 27th I was to get to Maputo from Nairobi only for immigration officers to stop me insinuating that I could have a fake ticket (like really?) (sic)," said Ernest.

According to Ernest, the officers allegedly further made discriminatory and xenophobic remarks that all Nigerians are criminals.

"As if that wasn't enough, the immigration officer also lied (further assassinating my character) that I raised my voice at him when confronted by a staff of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA)," he said.

The Nigerian claims that the officers did not check his travel documents during the alleged altercation.

However, the Immigration Department has said nothing of that sort happened.

"We wish to state that Michael was not singled out because of his nationality and neither was he called a criminal," it said in a statement.

The directorate of immigration services said that Ernest who was in the company of two others failed to produce a return ticket at the counter.

One of the trio identified to be a Rwandan was cleared to fly out of the country.

"Possession of a return/onward ticket is a standard requirement for all passengers either to be allowed entry or departure to a third country where they are not nationals or residents," said the Immigration Department.

But Ernest claimed he had made a multi-trip booking since after spending his Christmas in Kenya he was not returning to Nigeria but headed to Mozambique for the New Year.

"My ticket destination read LOS - NBO 21 Dec, NBO - MPT 27 Dec, MPT - LOS via NBO with 12 Hours Layover. Mind you this is not the first time as a Nigerian that I have travelled via multiple destinations. This year I have done it three times," he said.

The Immigration Department, however, stated that entrance or departure of passengers in Kenya should be strictly within the migration laws.

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