Seychelles Has No Problem With Nigeria – Alain St. Ange

Seychelles. Alain St. Ange
15 January 2024

Former Tourism Minister from Seychelles, Alain St. Ange, has stated that there the Indian Ocean island has no issues with Nigerians. Speaking exclusively during his visit to Nigeria over weekend with Toni Ukachukwu of Walk For Love Africa, the legendary tourism icon said this while sharing about his visa incident that happened at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

According to St. Ange, on presenting his passport to an immigration official on his arrival, he was informed that he had no visa. Surprised, the former Tourism Minister who has been to Nigeria several times previously told the official that, “We (Seychelles) are part of the African Union.”

As his passport was passed from one officer on to the next, and he demanded to speak with a supervisor who told him “You don’t need a visa before, but you need a visa now.”

On asking if he could get a visa on arrival, St. Ange was told by the supervisor; “No, because your type of passport you need to apply a visa before.” Unfortunately, there is no embassy of Nigeria in Seychelles, which makes it impossible to obtain a visa to Nigeria prior to departure.

“I felt sad. I felt sad for Africa, to have this type of approach.” St. Ange said, adding that, “And the fellow, the gentleman went further to tell me, ‘Seychelles have an issue with Nigerians.’”

However, the tourism guru stated categorically that Seychelles has no issues with Nigerians. On the contrary, “Seychelles had an issue with those smuggling drugs into the country. And they were quite a number of Nigerians, sadly, arrested because they were the mules, bringing drugs into Seychelles.”

Continuing, St. Ange pointed out that Seychelles is a small island of a hundred thousand inhabitants, and “there’s a limit to how many drug peddlers that you could have jailed in our country.”

According to the former minister, he thinks that the initial statement issued by Seychelles, regarding Nigerian passport holders was wrongly aired. It was wrongly disseminated.

Speaking further, Alain St. Ange said that the incident at the airport was a sad case for Africa because if there was a rule by Nigeria to stop Seychellois coming here; then the airlines must be aware of it.

“Ethiopian airlines which I flew in, I stopped in Addis. Had an overnight, and caught the next flight here, should never have boarded me and they are responsible to have brought me in to a country where I’m not allowed to come in,” St. Ange said.

According to the respected tourism consultant, “…if Nigeria wants to be the only country of Africa, that says no to Seychelles passport holders. I wish Nigeria well. And that will be a short term, short term regulation for themselves by themselves. And it will bring no unity in Africa.”

St. Ange stated the he believes in unity and that the 54 states of Africa must be united. He further added that, “And I am sure that Seychelles today will make a statement when needed that they don’t understand, because the minister of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles, who I message from the airport to say I was stopped at the airport, and now that I need to apply for a visa, his three words left me to understand that he was shocked, surprised, and could not believe that this was happening.”

Pointing out further that Seychelles is not just a member of the African Union (AU), but a vocal member, and one that participates in most of the sessions of the African Union. He added that, “…we are feeling a bit betrayed when a big brother of Seychelles, Nigeria, takes that approach.”

According to St. Ange, “When I told the gentleman that I was a former Minister of Tourism, and that I knew his office bearers in Nigeria well, they were surprised; they did not know what to do.”

As a last resort, St. Ange said he finally offered to fly out on the same plane, but the official said to him, “No, you come here for an event for a… and you need to stay here.” To which he replied, “You don’t want me to come in, you don’t want me to go; I’m not sure what you want me to do.”

In closing on the incident, Alain St. Ange said, “Will I talk about Nigeria in a bad way? No. Because I like Nigeria and I like Nigerians I still support this great country, but when you push people (away) by not giving them access to your own country, you are indirectly turning people against the Nigerians.” He added, “I have got excellent Nigerian friends. And I still invite them to come to Seychelles. And yes, they can come to Seychelles.”

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