The Seychelles’ government ban on tourist visas for Nigerian passport holders has triggered pandemonium on netizens. Nigerians are calling out the Seychelles government’s discriminatory actions directed at over 200 million Nigerians, most of which will never make it to Seychelles in their lifetime. Seychelles is not amongst the top 30 destinations for Nigerians, but as a small Island nation of barely the bite size of ten streets in Ikeja, Lagos, it will be easier to feel even if 1/1000th of Nigeria’s population were to visit the island country.
From social media platforms to mainstream media outlets, the news has hit every Nigerian. About a decade ago, the United Kingdom took a similar measure, but this was explained and elaborated on; Nigerians did not react in this manner given the bulk of Nigerians flocking into the United Kingdom, but Seychelles, most Nigerians won’t be able to pinpoint on a map, it is beginning to sound like a kindergarten decision.
A tiny island with Seychellois Creole, Indo-Seychellois, and Sino-Seychellois who exhibit a physiognomy and skin colour not very common with the main African Bantus and West African darker type Negroid. There have been spells of racial proclivities towards mainlanders and even darker skin Seychellois reported across the island. What instigated the decision by the Seychelles government is a mystery, and without clarity, the island country would be setting a precedent it surely will regret when properly dissected. Nigeria may be so many things, but it has not done anything to Seychelles warranting such indecorous display.
The alleged ban was exposed on Saturday by a popular Nigerian travel content creator on Twitter who shared a screenshot of her Seychelles visa application rejection email precisely stipulating a ban on Nigerian passport holders. The denial read “We regret to inform you that your application has been denied as per immigration regulation, for now we are not accepting any Nigerian passport holder for holiday purposes” That was explicit.
The island country of Seychelles is located along the eastern coast of Africa, over 5,400km, and home to a population of just over 100,000 people. It is endowed with stunning coastlines, coral reefs, and marine biodiversity, which has established it as a highly sought-after tourist destination.
The nation has grown an expatriate population made up of residents from several countries over time. Seychelles has effectively established itself as one of Africa’s most developed economies, largely boosted by its growing tourism sector, with a GDP gross of over $5.5 billion. To increase tourism and bilateral trade, the island country and Nigeria signed a pact in 2022 that will allow direct flights between the two nations. The deal had a big impact, notably for the Seychelles, which became a popular holiday destination for Nigerians looking for leisure, excitement, and romantic getaways.
The agreement, once seen as a significant step towards improving relations between the two nations, now hangs by a thread likely to force a response from the Nigerian government. The Seychelles government has yet to respond or clarify its position on such an uncalled-for step that may, in the long run, prove difficult to amend.
Trade between Nigeria and Seychelles in 2021:
OEC. (2021, Nigeria-Seychelles). oec. world. https://oec.world/en/profile/bilateral-country/nga/partner/syc
The video below sheds more light on the ban and its significance for both Nigeria and the Seychelles.
Writer: – Ikechukwu Orji –
Narrated by – Sharon Akoja –