Kenya’s Immigration Department has refuted claims by Nigerian national, Michael Ernest that he was mistreated at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) last week over his nationality.
On December 27th, Ernest took to Twitter to protest what he termed as mistreatment by Kenyan Immigration officials at JKIA. In a series of tweets, he claimed that the Kenyan officials were discriminating against Nigerian travelers.
“I arrived in Kenya 21st and today 27th I was to get to Maputo from Nairobi only for immigration officers to stop me insinuating the following a. I could have a fake ticket (like really?)…That I and Nigerians are criminal (I was criminalized without even verifying or even taking a look at my ticket, travel history or anything. All it took was a sight of my green passport. My passport wasn’t even opened by any of the immigration officers,” Ernest said.
“I made a multi-trip booking since I was going to go to Kenya for Christmas and Mozambique for the New Year. So I booked my ticket via @KenyaAirways. Nowhere on their website does it state any regulations which I will explain.”
“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 traveled via multiple destinations. This year I have done it 3 times. E.g my most recent trip in October From LOS to Addis and Addis to Windhoek and Windhoek to Los via Addis. I have also done via Kigali to NBO and didn’t get discriminated against.
“Nigerians aren’t allowed to do 3rd country (no official law, regulation, and whatnot state this also if this is the case why didn’t KQ flag it when I bought my ticket, when I departed from Lagos or when I arrived Nairobi).
“My encounter was met with condescending, discriminatory & xenophobic ￼remarks. 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 @CAA_Kenya. Now I am forced to return to Lagos and I have booked a different airline for my trip to Mozambique for later dates. This has set me back with over $1000 also my accommodation and tours in Mozambique all have a strict cancellation policy and on that end is another $1000.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the Immigration Department explained that Ernest, a marketing and communications professional, was destined for Maputo, Mozambique but did not have a return ticket to his home country or country of residence.
“Possession of an onward/return 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,” the department noted.
“We wish to state that Michael was not singled out because of his nationality neither was he called a criminal.”
It further explained that Ernest was in the company of other travelers including a Rwandan national who was cleared to proceed to Maputo as he had an onward ticket.