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Mother of five assaulted at French Embassy

Posted by By cami ezenwa, Production Editor on 2005/01/18 | Views: 458 |

Mother of five assaulted at French Embassy


Days of Nigerians being humiliated, harassed and assaulted in their country in their quest to obtain travel documents from foreign embassies in the country, may be back as a Nigerian mother of five, was recently abused and assaulted by overzealous officials of the French Embassy in Lagos over visa application.

Days of Nigerians being humiliated, harassed and assaulted in their country in their quest to obtain travel documents from foreign embassies in the country, may be back as a Nigerian mother of five, was recently abused and assaulted by overzealous officials of the French Embassy in Lagos over visa application.

Not only was she denied the visa in the most humiliating manner, Saturday Independent gathered that she was dragged out of the premises by security men on the orders of an official with the name tag “Mr Dugue Hubert”.

It all began on December 13, 2004, when the woman (names withheld) flew in from Port Harcourt and went to the French Consulate to obtain visas for herself and her five children.

Wife to a well-travelled Nigerian who transacts business with the French Embassy, the woman needed the visa to enable her take the children to France on a holiday.

Having presented the Air France tickets she obtained on instruction, the embassy official insisted she would have to return to Port Harcourt to fetch all the five children and present them in person.

Pleas by the woman for any wavers fell on deaf ears and she had to rush back to Port Harcourt to fetch the children. But her troubles were not yet over.

After scrutinising the bulk of documents she presented, Hubert insisted that he needed to see the particulars covering hotel reservations.

At this point, another French national who knew the woman and works with her partners in France attempted to intervene.

He allegedly told Hubert that the partners had already settled the issue of reservation and that the woman and her children were going on the company’s invitation.

On hearing this, Hubert reportedly flared up, and promptly ordered the Frenchman out of his office and the woman and her children into another office.

Another official with the name tag “Mr Garne Maire” was about leading the woman and her children out when Hubert allegedly stopped suddenly, and collected the travel documents from the woman.

“Do you know that the man that brought you here is crazy,” he charged at the woman.

“No, I don’t think so,” the woman insisted. “He works with my husband and he knows us.”

That seemed to have angered Hubert the more as he queried the woman whether she did not know he could prevent her from travelling.

“I can make sure you don’t get visa for ten years”, he threatened and walked out on the woman.

First, he dropped the particulars in a vehicle parked nearby, picked the bundle and threw it in the air.

If the hapless woman thought that was all, she was mistaken, for in carrying out Hubert’s order of driving them out of the premises, she stumbled and sustained injuries as her documents flew in all directions.

The kicking and shouting were enough warning for the other visa seekers who also complained bitterly about the manner they were sometimes treated.

Efforts to speak with officials of the French Embassy were unsuccessful, even as the woman’s husband is afraid to formally seek redress.

Though angered by the inhuman treatment, he is afraid that pursuing the case would jeopardize his business interest with his overseas’ partners.

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