Are your countrymen victims of violent attacks from citizens of another country simply because they weren’t born inside the same imaginary lines drawn by gold-digging, 19th-century European leaders? Are their shops and belongings burnt to ashes by citizens of a country whose GDP is, ironically, on admission at the ICU and needs every productive activity it can get? Are your brothers and sisters suffering at the hands of fools for the sins of a few—sins which are no reserve of one nationality?
Are your kinsmen judged by the emphases in their accents rather than the decency of their character? Challe, do you find yourselves in a country where the wages of sin (by a stranger) is not simply prosecution or deportation but, as the Book of Romans suggests, outright death?
…Then all your problems have reached a red traffic light (never mind that it’s temporary). Draw your seatbelt as I am about to reveal to you the never-before-tested but trusted ways to magically put an end to that age-old menace called xenophobia—made right here in Nigeria!
First, have shitty embassies. You know, embassies that don’t make noise; embassies that like keeping things lowkey, especially when the ordinary Nigerian is under threat. What is a travel advisory? That strange concept should have no place in your dictionary. Your country already has one of the world’s largest populations and your citizens are everywhere, strutting like they own the planet together with all its continents and crannies. Of course, the last thing you want to do is further amplify your presence with some embassy or high commission that promptly speaks out for its people.
Second, never be caught showing displeasure on camera when you are with their number one citizen. Smile! In fact, let out a carefree laugh or two. Hold hands like true pan-Africans while the corpses of your people are flown back for befitting burials. You have to show maturity and mustn’t be seen transferring aggression. It is, after all, the poor people of one country who are killing and the poor people of another country who are dying. Their president is a nice guy. Hug him, challe. And pat him on the back too for promising to do something about the situation back at home. How generous!
Let the Vice President do all the (roadside) talking, while you do the smiling. Besides, here is a country that imports nearly a quarter of all your oil exports and, automatically, contributes nearly a quarter of all your foreign exchange reserves. How else are people supposed to travel abroad for, say, medical treatments or workshops tailored specifically for local government chairmen? Where are we going to get money to subsidise pilgrimage expenses for the rich folks? Think about it.
You should also consider sending a very “special envoy” to the problematic country. That is, of course, right after setting up a “high-powered” committee to communicate your grievances to the African Union. If there’s one thing xenophobes are afraid of, it is having ministers and special advisers from their victims’ country visiting to “register their displeasure”. If nothing else works, trust me, this is certain to bring an end to the madness. And if it doesn’t, at least the envoy can seize the opportunity to also beg your countrymen to return home and build the country. Plus, hey! Let’s not forget the lucky guys in that delegation also get some estacodes to last them a couple of months. It’s a win for everyone, yeah?
Anyway, if your people say enough is enough and finally take their protest beyond the walls of Facebook and the tree branches of Twitter, make sure your friendly policemen and their friendly (but fire-ready) guns are on ground to maintain order. If that is not enough to restore order, make a scapegoat of one or two of them just to teach them a lesson about how precious life is. By the time someone is gunned down, they’ll know never to try such silly antics again.
Whatever you do, do not suspend diplomatic ties. Do not eject the problematic people’s ambassador to your country. Do not withdraw from events scheduled to be held there. Do not impose economic sanctions. I beg you, touch not their investments. In fact, if your countries have a friendly football match coming up soon, fix additional bilateral friendlies every week after till all becomes well. At this point, you can’t have too many. You can’t afford to get the xenophobes angry. We all know what happens when they get angry.
Let your lackadaisical attitude about the whole situation be so glaring that local men are frustrated into taking law into their own hands and making nice-sounding but irrational decisions. Not all local men are frustrated because of xenophobia though. Your successful and unique failures in other areas of life (e.g. in making sure jobs and good food are out of their reach) can also push them into vandalising and looting, all in the name of protests.
So, please, do not fix your economy. Do not create jobs. Do not improve the standard of living of your people, so that as many of them as possible stay at home with no urge to seek supposedly greener pastures (-turn-graveyards) elsewhere. Give them 1001 reasons why a Canadian passport is the best thing after Agege bread. Do not further develop your country than it already is, you know, because this will only get the xenophobes jealous.
And don’t we all know what happens when the darn xenophobes get jealous?