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Nigerian citizen is prevented from entering Mozambique, reigniting debate on mobility in Africa

Maputo International Airport. Photo: Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

The COVID-19 pandemic has made human displacement a central topic of public debate in Africa. Much of this is due to the different travel measures and restrictions in each country. Recently, the restriction of movement to some southern African countries has raised accusations of racism and exaggerated nationalism.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Mozambique it has been no different. It was precisely in March 2020 that the first case emerged, with the local authorities imposing restrictions on how people can enter the country but also requiring testing and quarantine, though not vaccination.

However, in 2022, the debate on restrictions has given way to reports of mistreatment from the country's migration authorities. The most recent example dates from January 23, when Nigerian national Pamela Aide was prevented from entering Mozambique.

Authorities claimed that she did not have the proper documentation to enter the country. Furthermore, her visa could not be obtained upon arrival, contrary to the information she had obtained from her country's migration services.

Upon arriving in Mozambique, immigration authorities advised that she needed an invitation letter as well as a reference to where she would be staying. After being turned away, Pamela decided to expose the case on Twitter and gained over 9,000 retweets, over 1000 comments, and over 15,000 likes. Pamela Aide tells her story here:

The debate did not go unnoticed by several Mozambicans, who condemned the immigration authorities’ actions, showing solidarity with the traveler.

Some users even went so far as to indicate a list of countries where they are considered to be on the ”black list”:

In the midst of the comments, a debate emerged about the difficulties around traveling within the continent, which is often characterized by overcomplicated document requirements that hinder the internal mobility of Africans.

Based on the incident, some citizens produced some solutions and proposals emerged, as was the case of those who offered to help those who want to travel to Mozambique next time:

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