Indian town evicts Nigerian students

Some of the Nigerian students. credit:
Some of the Nigerian students. credit:

Twenty-five Nigerian students living in Aarey Colony, Goregaon East, a suburb of Mumbai, India, were served notices by their real estate agents, asking them to vacate the flats within 15 days, sparking off a protest by the students at the local police station.


Agitated by the notice, Maureen Ijeoma said, “It is extremely difficult to find an accommodation in this city because nobody wants to rent out their house to a black person. Such a notice is humiliating and unfair.”


The real estate agents are apparently passing the buck on to the police, claiming that in a meeting held on August 27 between them and the police, the latter gave them a general instruction, asking them not to entertain Nigerians as they are often involved with “online crimes and drug peddling”.


While the 15 Nigerian students staying in Aarey Colony found themselves slapped with notices recently asking them to vacate their flats, the police have denied sending out any such notices.


The Aarey Colony police said their real estate agent may have issued the notices on his own. “The agent had come to us with a request to get the students to vacate the flats, but we told him if they had proper visas and documentation, they could not be asked to leave,” said senior inspector Vilas Chavan, adding that they had only carried out a routine verification check of all foreign nationals in the area recently.


The agent has, however, claimed he issued the notices following pressure from residents and on instructions of the local Aarey Colony police.

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Residents of the area are backing the agent. “We will not entertain Nigerians,” said a secretary of one of the buildings in Royal Palms Estate of Mayur Nagar. Another resident said, “They are a threat as they drink on the premises and come with women at odd hours.” Royal Palms is considered to be among the many foreigner-friendly areas of the city. But things are slowly changing where African nationals are considered.


One building – Garden View Apartments – stopped letting flats to Nigerians since January 2012, when the crime branch arrested six Nigerians in a major online fraud racket. The police, as part of their security guidelines, have been urging residents to ensure new tenants adhere to the police verification process.


Himanshu Arora, vice-chairman of Garden View Apartments, said, “We do not discriminate between foreign nationals. The police have asked us to ensure police verification is duly done, failing which tenants are not permitted to rent out flats. This applies even to Indian tenants.”

When HT visited the Royal Palms Estate, one of the residents, without disclosing his identity, said, “Nigerians are constantly drinking, playing loud music and bringing women to their flats at odd hours.”


When asked why Nigerians are not allowed to stay in the society, a committee member said, “We have taken a decision and we will stick to it.”


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