INTERVIEWS

Nigeria is not the Giant of Africa- Uni Ben. Professor

A Professor of International Economics at the University of Benin, Hassan Oaikhenan has played down Nigeria’s self-acclaimed status as the Giant of Africa.

Prof. Oaikhenan said this while entertaining questions from Sunday Punch. He was speaking on the recent report by a London-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm, Henley and Partners.

According to the report, Nigeria ranked 101st out of 199 countries. But Mr. Hassan feels Nigeria should have ranked lower due to the various human rights abuses common in the country.

He said, “I am surprised that Nigeria came 101st out of 199. I expected Nigeria would be closer to the bottom of the ladder because it is not a self-respecting country.’’

He noted that the Nigerian passport is as worthless as Nigeria’s currency.

He said, “First of all, the claim that Nigeria is the Giant of Africa, as far as I’m concerned, is neither here nor there. It’s a spurious claim that cannot stand empirical evidence. In other words, for me, Nigeria is like a giant standing on feet of clay. It’s self-triangulation to be calling oneself the Giant of Africa.”

Prof. Hassan Oaikhenan

“I’m aware of a friend who has been trying to renew their passport at the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. In fact, somewhere along the line, the person and some others were given appointments.”

“They got there and were kept out there in the cold. Americans and other nationals were looking at Nigerians clustered around the Nigerian consulate in Atlanta. It’s shameful! If a country can treat its citizens that way, why do you expect another country to respect the integrity of that country’s passport?”

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