… Rescues stranded Nigerians in Vietnam
By Brown Chimezie
Solomon Oluwaseyi Bamidele is the chief executive officer of SBJ Foundation. He’s also president, Association of Nigeria-Vietnam Community (ANVC) in that Asian country.
According to him, no tragedy could be bigger than the plight of Nigerians who found their way into Vietnam through fraudulent traveling agencies. “It’s like people fleeing from frying pan to fire,” he noted. Bamidele told the reporter that the activities of these middlemen who arranged the journey for Nigerians had made life miserable for the immigrants. The visitors would, upon their arrival, discover that there were no mouth-watering job opportunities in Vietnam and that the country’s streets are not lined with gold. He noted that such realisation has driven many Nigerians to become refugees while others end up joining criminal gangs.
Speaking on the plight of Nigerians, who became stranded after arriving in Vietnam, Bamidele recalled that sometime last year, he was informed about the condition of some Nigerians who arrived in the country with invalid papers and were rounded up by the Vietnamese authorities.
“Immediately, through my foundation and along with some of our friends, I swung into action and procured tickets for the return of these persons to Nigeria,” he said. Asked why he embarked on such mission, Bamidele explained that as the leader of over 500 Nigerians based in Vietnam, he believed that it was a patriotic duty to come to the aid of Nigerians in need.
“When I saw the way they were languishing in immigration camps, I was moved with pity. Through the SBJ Foundation, we were able to provide food for them and then made arrangement to procure tickets for them to return to Nigeria.
While lamenting the embarrassment that illegal emigrants were causing Nigerians in foreign land, Bamidele said some Nigerians came into Vietnam under the guise of studying and tourism but immediately they stepped onto the country, they disappeared into thin air. He said such people would overstay their permit and take to dubious ways of life to survive. He said such attitude on the part of this group of some of his countrymen had created a lot of problems for Nigerians with valid papers and genuine businesses in that country.
On what could be done to stem the influx of Nigerians into Vietnam, Bamidele called for enlightenment and thorough education. He said some of these immigrants were ignorant of the reality on ground in their country of destination. “Some of these agents collect between N300,000 and N2 million to bring unsuspecting Nigerians into Vietnam. And without a legal means of survival, these Nigerians swell the ranks of miscreants in the country.”
Bamidele advised that rather than spend so much to travel down to a foreign land and then become destitute, it would be better for such Nigerians to invest the money on self-empowerment projects in Nigeria. The returns from such investment could sustain them and they might even fare better at home than coming to the foreign land to look for some non-existing green pastures, he counselled.
Speaking about the economic possibilities of Vietnam, he described the country as one of the emerging economies in South East Asia with the potential of becoming an investors’ destination. He said the country was known for commerce and tourism. He called on Nigerians who had genuine business intentions to approach the appropriate authorities and agencies, assuring them of good business deals in Vietnam.
Back in Nigeria, Bamidele and his wife recently visited the Sabo Camp in Mokola area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where the couple, through the SBJ Foundation, donated relief materials and cash to inmates. According to Bamidele, the foundation chose to visit the Sabo Camp because of the peculiar circumstances of the inmates in that camp. He called on other well-meaning Nigerians at home and abroad to extend the milk of human kindness to the needy in the society.