A Nigerian footballer in Hungary has been ordered to leave the country because of an error made by his own embassy in Madrid, Spain during the process of a new biometric passport.
Enefiok Francis Edem, 23 got the shock of his life when he presented his new passport to the Hungarian Immigration for a transfer of his permanent resident permit which he had obtained as a result of his marriage to Hungarian woman.
On presenting his new biometric passport, the immigration discovered that the date of birth recorded in his new passport did not tally with the old one. The Embassy of the Republic of Nigeria in Spain had mistakenly committed an appalling error of data by writing 10th of July 1987 instead of 10th of June 1987 as Francis date of birth.
According to the immigration, disparity in personal data in a document such as passport is an offence under the existing Hungarian law. But Human Rights lawyer, Dr. Horv├íth P├ęter said that Francis has not committed any offence ÔÇô technically ÔÇô since the mistake was an official error duly attested to by the sister diplomatic mission of the issuing authority in Hungary.
However, the "To Whom It May Concern" by the Nigerian embassy in Hungary, attesting to the fact that its sister diplomatic mission in Spain had made a mistake regarding Francis date of birth, might eventually save the footballer from being repatriated.
Francis, a goalkeeper for the Afrique Internationale here in Budapest, said that the ugly situation probably would have been averted if only the Nigeria embassy in Hungary had earlier understood the seriousness of the case the first time he went there for attestation which the immigration had requested for.
"When I went there the first time," said Francis, "the embassy was reluctant to issue an official paper ÔÇô though I was later given ÔÇô that Nigeria embassy in Spain had made a mistake concerning my date of birth".
Although Francis was given the option to appeal within ten-working-day, his permanent residence permit has since been replaced with a temporary one of three months.
"This is a violation of human rights," declared a Human Rights activist who is closely following the case, adding that "if someone is expelled unlawfully, it is a violation of International law and European Convention of Human Rights of which Hungary is a member signatory".
Dr. Horv├íth in his official letter to the immigration and made available to this writer states that the decision to expel Francis does not fulfil the criteria of the Hungarian law, especially when the immigration itself admitted that the passport was duly obtained at a diplomatic mission of the person in question.
Although Dr. Horv├íth added that the Home Office in its capacity can take any decision deem fit in such circumstances, especially regarding personal data misinformation, he believed Francis should have been given another option instead of revoking his permanent residence.
"It's part of immigration bureaucracy," he said, saying we have appealed the decision and we are waiting for the court proceeding.