The Zimbabwe government has explained its own side of the story in the arrest and detention of popular Nigerian investigative journalist David Hundeyin.
The Zimbabwe government said the journalist was running away from persecution in Nigeria when he landed in the country.
It said its submission was necessary to clarify why he was arrested and detained so it won’t affect how its citizens are treated in Nigeria.
The clarification was made by Zimbabwe Permanent Secretary in the Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Service, Nick Mangwana, on Thursday.
Mangwana explained that the Zimbabwe government had no business putting out the details of his detention in public, but since he has put it out there but without giving full details, it has become paramount for the government to make clarifications.
We had reported that Zimbabwe authorities on Wednesday detained renowned investigative journalist Hundeyin at the country’s international airport.
It was gathered that Hundeyin made this known in a series of posts on his verified Twitter handle.
Narrating what transpired, he wrote: “I landed in Zimbabwe earlier today, and I have been detained at Harare Airport inside a smelly locked room for nearly 7 hours.
“They said that despite using the travel document of a country with a visa-free relationship, my nationality is still Nigerian, and thus, I need a visa.
“I was processed for removal from their country and locked in a tiny room, but I have heard nothing from anyone for several hours.
“Alongside a lady from Uganda (also a visa-free country), I have been locked in a room with no windows or toilet, plus a bottle of pee on the floor.
“No one appears to be in charge of anything, and even though my return flight to Addis has been rescheduled for tonight, I am still locked in this room, and I risk missing my flight.
They appear to have forgotten that they have people in detention here.
“I am ready to hop on my flight and never come back to Zimbabwe for the rest of my life.
“Please, someone out there who is actually in charge of something should let me go so I can be on my merry way. I’m not interested in visiting Zimbabwe anymore.
“I want to go home. Please.”
However, narrating their own side of the story, the Zimbabwe government official, in a series of Tweets, said, “It seems David Hundeyin while carrying a Nigerian Passport, he is seeking asylum in Ghana, and those are the papers he travelled with. Unfortunately for him, Ghanians are not allowed in Zimbabwe without a VISA, and he was promptly arrested, detained, and deported.
“I am sorry that this journalist found himself in this situation. That said, we do have Immigration laws in our country that are obligatory to all prospective entrants, and no profession is immune to them. If someone’s travel document is such that they need a Visa, that law applies to everyone, including “an award-winning journalist.” Our laws are blind to social stations or attended achievements.
“Jaqui, since he has chosen to put all his issues out without making full disclosure, it forces us to give details we would have preferred not. But we realize this may affect how Zimbabweans are treated when they visit Nigeria, so we are going give the information here.
“David came with Ghanaian Refuge papers claiming he was a Nigerian who was a refuge from his home country. His country of Asylum is Ghana after claiming to be running away from persecution in Nigeria. People in this category certainly need Visas to enter Zimbabwe. He wasn’t coming in to work as a journalist. He said he was just coming to visit but without getting a Visa in Ghana first. Other parts of his story were also unsatisfactory to the immigration authorities. He was considered not a candidate for entry into Zimbabwe.
” The great fraternal relationships between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Zimbabwe do not preclude the nationals of either country from the inconvenience of meeting Visa requirements of either sister nation. You are not even sure whether he is even being treated as a Nigerian or another nationality
“And it’s unethical for me as offices to discuss an individual’s live immigration case on Twitter, giving all personal circumstances. What I can assure you is that by now I have already established that he failed to meet certain immigration requirements and entry was refused. That is as far as I can go. The Nigerian Consulate may be able to make the necessary interventions which speak to our historical and current relations. Good Night.”
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