Before 2 months, I was given a Malaysian visa. Na so I come dey happy ooo. It just looked as if I won the world cup.
Na so I just dey tease my friends that I would be going to Malaysia and the next they would see me, I would be coming in big with flashy cars and accessories. It really pained my dad, the money he was supposed to use to complete our house, he spent it on facilitating my travelling, ticket which was N500,000. The car he was supposed to buy, he didn’t get it again just for me to fulfill my desire.
A week to my departure, I didn’t have rest of mind. I was always thinking and dreaming Malaysia. Sometimes, I dream of old white women at the airport telling me, “welcome to Malaysia.”
The day I left Nigeria, my dad gave me $3000 as pocket money. He also advised. But I wasn’t comfortable with his final words. He said
“You see I sacrificed my car, house due to your lack of patience. All for you to get to study in Malaysia. Now hear this: do not come back to my house without buying me a car when coming back.”
Though he was pained about my departure at that time. He also assured me that after getting my Master’s admission he would try to send more money. I assured him that I will do well. Infact I told him not to worry that infact I would buy him a brand new car before 6 months’ time. I finally left the shores of Nigeria.
With my travelling bag and a big Ghana must go sac, I arrived Kuala Lumpur the capital of Malaysia. Barnabas had earlier told me that he would send someone to pick me at the airport. Shortly after I arrived Kuala Lumpur, I connected to soji, the guy that barnabas sent to pick me. Soji is a Nigerian. Na so I start another phase for my life.
Soji took me from the airport and brought me to a hotel, Hotel Plan B (Not the real name). He told me that barnabas would join me soon. Barnabas would join me soon, I waited for the soon and was yet to see barnabas. Soon turned to 1, 2, 3 days and I was yet to see barnabas. I want him so he could help me out on my admission since he said he can do it. And also the job he said he has for me. It was after 7 days that I heard that Barnabas had travelled to the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago precisely, he won’t be coming back again. “Say what!” I said to myself. It was there I learnt that the $2000 I sent to barnabas was part of the money he used to facilitate his exit from the country to the Caribbean. I had been scammed big time. The job I was promised was also a scam. Barnabas had earlier told me that I would be working as a computer operator/ repairer for a hotel in Kuala Lumpur for just 4 hours daily. Computer science was what I studied in school. I never knew it was the Hotel plan B. When I told soji about it, he took me to a Nigerian, Ebuka who he said works as a bar manager in the hotel. I was so happy that at least I would be getting a job which would help me for the main time. Ebuka brought 2 abandoned laptop systems and told me to check them. After checking them, I told him what was wrong and I repaired it which worked fine. “So when will I start my work,” I asked him. “Which work?” he said. I told him that I was told by barnabas that a job of a computer engineer was awaiting me there before coming. He debunked it and told me that no one has a job for me. It was just his two abandoned laptops that needs repairs so barnabas told him that I would help him out when I arrive. I never knew the job was scam. I asked ebuka how he could help me get a job there in Malaysia. He said he can’t help me, that I came to Malaysia with a “visa without reference,” which is a visiting visa and I can’t even renew it there. Me I just they look the man like mumu. I didn’t understand what he was saying about “visa with reference” and “visa without reference.” Not until he sat me down and began explaining to me what was happening and how the immigration system works in that country. He said that I can’t even renew my visa in that country, I have to go back to Nigeria to do that and I can’t get a legal job and the country is a bit racist talk more of illegal migrants. Once an illegal migrant is caught, the security operatives sometimes do kill them. As he explained, na there I come realize say I don enter one chance. fear come dey catch me. And I was getting short of cash, with $2500 left with me. I have spent $500 on hotel alone. I told ebuka if he could help me because himself is living there legitimately. He said even if he could help me, I must have upto $5,000 for him to help me. I wanted to tell him that I have $2500 but something in me told me to keep cool first.
After what ebuka told me, I walked to my hotel room. I didn’t know what to do. Either to call my parents; but that would be a bad news because my dad warned me before travelling. He wouldn’t even give me an audience. I had only called him twice since I came and told him all was well. I rechecked my visa again. To be sincere, I had barely checked it when it was given to me in Nigeria because of my excitement to travel out. I noticed that the expiry period of the visa was 14 days and that day was the 8thday. I met with soji to confirm what ebuka told me. Na there soji come open up to me. He took me to the back of the hotel. Where they dump refuse there. He opened a room there and I saw the shock of my life. I saw black people, over 30 people in that room. The room was sticking. The odour that came out of the room can even kill a new born baby. Immediately we entered, na so the people begin wan climb window wan jump out. Some were trying to run out from the door. I began wondering what was pursuing them that me nearly started running. Soji told them to calm down that I wasn’t a police. Na so dem begin calm down. Looking at their faces, they might confuse one as criminals. Soji began to explain to them that I just came into Malaysia. “Ok bros you wan come join us? Them chop your money too?” one of the guys shouted. “me come join una, to do wetin!” I thought to myself because that place was a dustbin. As beautiful as the hotel is, I never knew there was a room like that in that building. I began to wonder how they were coping there and why soji brought me there.
Na so guys come dey hail me ooo Just because I came from Naija. “If only they knew what I was going through at that moment” I thought to myself. As if soji was reading my mind, he just took me out of the place immediately and he began telling me that that was the place he stays. “With those guys?” I shouted. “Yes nah,” he said. He began telling me that all of them including himself are illegal immigrants. Their visas had expired and many of them thinks they can’t just return to Nigeria. They can’t bear the shame. And they don’t even have money for ticket back to Nigeria. The worst part of it is that the Malaysian Government doesn’t tolerate illegal immigrants, most especially African descents. He said that that was why the room he took me to was made available. So they hide themselves from the police. They rarely come out and if police should catch any of them, they take them to prison and many times, they kill them there. Soji narrated how about 12 people have been killed out of them and police officers normally frequents the hotel because they feel they would be harboring illegal immigrants. Soji opened up to me that many guys in that room were brought into the that country by ebuka. That was his main job and not the manager he told me about. He would bring young boys who are willing to come. They would sell their properties and send him money for invitation letter. Soji also said he (ebuka) works with a guy called Opus in Lagos. They would facilitate coming to Malaysia with the hope of the person getting a better life and job. But after bringing them, they would leave them stranded after visa expiration. Many of them won’t be willing to go back because they had spent so much. They sold all their properties just to travel. Getting to Malaysia, they discovered their visa can’t be renewed there. So they have nowhere to go and how to get back to Nigeria, getting caught by the security agents will even be more deadlier. Unlike some other countries that their security and immigration agents could be a little soft, the Malaysian case was different, they can kill an illegal immigrant and many have even been killed extra judicially inside their cell. Ebuka would just abandon there, he has gotten the money he wants from them. They can’t be roaming like that, he decided to offer them the room in that hotel plan B. soji also told me that ebuka had been in this business for a long time. Bringing gullible Nigerians into Malaysia, promising to give them job but would later abandon them. And once they found themselves in that kind of situation, one can’t just anything because sometimes he would be the one to report them to the police and they would arrest them, sometimes kill them. As this guy dey narrate, I just dey look. Soji also said that the $2,000 I sent, that was what barnabas who is ebuka’s cousin used to buy his ticket to Caribbean to start another life. He was tired of Malaysia and ebuka couldn’t help him. soji also said that he had to risk his life to come and pick me at the airport because ebuka said he had settled the Malaysian policeman that accompanied him to the airport, in other to shield/ cover me from others that might try to arrest him. Hmmm, because I wondered why the car we entered, a policeman with uniform was inside with us, which prompted me to begin to wonder if we were been arrested the day I came.
As soji narrated their ordeal and how they have been trying to avoid the police and security agents in Malaysia, I pitied him. I never knew mine was coming in a matter of days. He said he can’t just go back to Nigeria like that, that his family are looking up to him and his plan is to move to the Caribbean because he heard they are many opportunities there. But he doesn’t have any money and nobody or company would offer an illegal migrant a job. He advised me to come and join them in that dustbin of a room, that I was wasting too much money on hotel accommodation. I told him never to worry about that that I can convince ebuka to help me. He laughed, that he has been in Malaysia for over 3 years in that condition, “ebuka can’t help you,” he said to me.