By 11:30am the next day, i went to the Dhl facility near Charles de Gaulle airport and picked up my Baptismal card. It was a little dirty and old but the information on it were pretty clear. The dates of my baptism and Confirmation in 1987 and 1989 were clearly written. I was also lucky to have used my real date of birth on my international passport. The whole thing would have been a mess if i had used different date of birth as many people did in Europe.
After checking the card, i became confident that my permit will be renewed. It was only a blind person that won’t recognize that the card was the real thing. It was done in 1980 and had witnessed some bad days.
I had left Alicia at the hotel and took the RER train to the airport and from there, i went straight to the foreign office.
At the office, i waited for everybody to finish before it was my turn. The reason was that they all had appointments except me. I had done a similar thing when the permit was originally issued.
It was around 3:30pm when i was told to go in. I was the last person in the hall and as usual, there were some immigration Police officers everywhere waiting for those whose permits would not be renewed. It was them that usually bundled them to the deportation camp. When i saw them initially, i had called Alicia and told her to leave the hotel and go back to Italy if she didn’t get a call from me by 5pm. I had also called Maria and told her that i was at the foreign office and that there was no guarantee that the paper will be renewed. I also told her that she should take control of things if i were not to return. She cried on the phone and said she couldn’t control the things i was doing. She was right anyway.
As soon as i gave the woman the resident permit card, she keyed the number and asked for the Birth certificate. I handed her the tattered Baptismal card. She opened it and after checking the data, she nodded and keyed in some of the data into the computer system. Then she told me to wait while she went inside the next room. The Black Immigration Police standing behind her nodded to me; the way he smiled showed me that something good was going to happen. I had expected that he would be slamming handcuffs on my arms by then.
Five minutes later, she emerged from the room and handed the card to me with a smile. Inside the card was another 6 months permit.
Another 6 months to roam around Europe freely.
Another 6 months to teach the Italian Mamas some serious lessons.
Another 6 months to visit my girls in Marseille and Sweden.
Another 6 months to return to the waiting Alicia and the expecting Maria whom i had started missing.
It was really when i found out i could be deported that i understood how much i have fallen in love with Maria. It was difficult to imagine being in Africa without her.
While waiting for the long five minutes that the lady spent laminating my card, i remembered that my finger prints were already in Germany and Holland. Yes i had my Finger prints in both countries because i was controlled at the Gandcafe Night club the day Nkem Owoh came there for a show. The Dutch Politie had invaded the venue and arrested over 300 Black immigrants. We were taken to the deportation camps and fingerprinted. Despite the fact that i used my Portuguese resident permit then, i never trusted the documents. I had decided not to go with it to the club that night. It was after fingerprinting me that the authorities found out i previously lived in Germany. They had asked when i came into The Netherlands and i told them that it was a day back. I told them that Nkem Owoh aka Osuofia was a very popular man in Africa and had attracted people from all over Europe. They believed my story because half of the people they arrested had Spanish, Italian and Portuguese papers but all lived in Amsterdam. They had told all the people with papers and evidence of having been living in Europe to return to wherever they came from.
But for the 111 people that had no papers, things were as bad as having been deported back to Lagos Nigeria. Some Togolese and Ghanaians were even deported to Lagos and were told to find the way to their various countries from there. The corrupt Nigerian Immigration officials had accepted Bribe money from The Dutch Authorities and had accepted people from other nations. That was something the Ghanaian authorities refused to do. The Ghanaians had asked the Dutch officials to provide the evidence that those people were from Ghana. The Dutch wasn’t able to do that because when they took the arrested people to the Ghana embassy in The Hague, the Ghana ambassador refused to sign the deportation papers. That was the opposite of what the Nigerian Idiots at the The Hague embassy did. They signed for people from Nigeria and the neighbouring countries to be deported to Lagos at night. I recalled that i once posted that on my column in the African Bulletin newspaper. Although it was a column for jokes but i used jokes to send the message to the Nigerian Authorities. They saw my email address there and sent a message to me warning me not to post similar thing about them again. The ambassador then was one Mr Charles Onwuagbu or something who haven’t even settled in the country. There was reliable news that Mr Onwuagbu was one of the people recalled by the then Yar Adua Administration. My guess was that he needed some quick though. Talk about bad timing.
As soon as i left the foreign office, i called Maria first. It was true that i told Alicia to leave if i didn’t call by 5pm but in the scale of preference criteria, Maria was up there ahead of anybody else. She was very excited when i told her that i had been given another six months to roam around Europe. I told her that i needed to tidy up some things in France before heading back to Scandinavia.
I called Alicia and told her that i was on my way back to the hotel.
She said she already left the hotel and was going back to Italy.
I didn’t blame her