Incidents like August 7’s assault on a Nigerian diplomat, Mr Abdulrahman Ibrahim, by immigration officers in Jakarta, Indonesia, are a pointer to the massive disrespect Nigeria and its residents are dealing with overseas amid alleged weakened overseas coverage, writes JESUSEGUN ALAGBE
On June 6, 2016, footage of an American diplomat seen assaulted by Russian safety and intelligence forces on the steps of america Embassy in Moscow was launched by the Russian media.
The nighttime footage, from what seemed to be a closed-circuit TV digicam throughout the road from a aspect entrance into the embassy compound, confirmed a yellow taxi pulling up and a person leaping out of the entrance passenger door, in keeping with a report by Reuters.
The person moved purposefully in the direction of the doorway, however after he had taken about three steps, the door of a police sentry field in entrance of the doorway swung open.
A person in police uniform then darted out, grabbed the person, and wrestled him to the ground about two metres from the door, main into the embassy constructing, in keeping with footage broadcast by NTV.
The footage then confirmed the police officer sitting astride the opposite man, who was on his again, pinning him to the ground. The person managed to wriggle his manner in the direction of the door and get it open, at which level the footage ended.
Russian overseas ministry later mentioned the police officer had needed to examine the person’s paperwork to determine he was not a menace to embassy safety however was elbowed within the face when he tried to problem him.
Nonetheless, the US debunked the declare and accused Russia of a marketing campaign of harassment towards its diplomats in Moscow “over time,” whereas Russia additionally accused Washington of meting out comparable remedy to Russian diplomats primarily based within the US.
In response to the assault on its diplomat, the US a couple of days later expelled two Russian officers from the nation. In retaliation although, Russia additionally expelled two American diplomats amid the fracas.
Based on findings, many situations just like the one above abound on how international locations take actions towards international locations that disrespect their residents or diplomats overseas. Typically, international locations take motion which may be within the type of financial sanctions on the international locations the place their nationals are abused.
Specialists mentioned actions like this have been a part of what international locations did within the overseas coverage realm, including that the essence of getting overseas coverage was for the safety of the nation and its residents, amongst different aims.
When a rustic has a robust overseas coverage, consultants say the speed at which its residents have been abused overseas could be very minimal, if in any respect such incidents occur.
Lamentably, that is usually not the case with Nigeria as many instances of abuse have been recorded of its residents dwelling overseas, a scenario consultants aver point out weak overseas coverage.
The newest incident was that of a senior Nigerian diplomat working on the Nigerian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Mr Abdulrahman Ibrahim, who was allegedly unjustifiably harassed by Indonesian immigration officers on August 7.
A gaggle, Stakeholders of Nigerians in Asia, in a communiqué signed by its coordinator Kingsley Nwankwo mentioned Ibrahim had gone out on looking for his household when 4 immigration officers, who had laid siege to Ibrahim’s condo, arrested him and demanded his travelling papers.
Ibrahim, nevertheless, allegedly instructed the officers that as a diplomat, he didn’t use a visa and as a substitute confirmed them his Diplomatic Id Card, however the officers have been reportedly not glad and requested that he adopted them to their workplace, to which he obliged to keep away from creating an pointless scene within the space.
“On their manner, the officers ordered for a automobile with tinted glass and Ibrahim instructed them (politely) that the automobile was not an official one. But, he agreed to observe them in it, pondering they have been going to the Indonesian Immigration Head Workplace in Kuningan, Jakarta,” the communiqué learn.
Nwankwo alleged that after driving for some time, it grew to become unclear to Ibrahim the place he was being taken to, so he tried to name the eye of passersby, which infuriated the officers who then assaulted and handcuffed him.
“The event resulted in him sustaining a whole lot of accidents within the neck, fingers, and chest,” SNA said.
The group mentioned the incident was only one out of many instances of Nigerians being subjected to abuse within the Asian nation. Based on the group, Nigerians are being regularly harassed, intimidated, and unlawfully arrested within the Asian nation.
Nwankwo referred to as on the President, Main Common Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to deal with the rising xenophobic assaults on Nigerians within the diaspora, including that many Nigerians have been at present languishing in Asian prisons.
To handle the abuse, Nwankwo additionally urged the Nigerian authorities to urgently arrange a high-powered delegation to look at the continued harassment of Nigerians within the area.
“We wish the Nigerian authorities, particularly the Minister of International Affairs and President Muhammadu Buhari to write down the Indonesian authorities on the necessity to sanction the officers concerned within the maltreatment of the Nigerian diplomat,” the group mentioned.
The video of Ibrahim being assaulted by the Indonesian immigration officers has since gone viral, sparking outrage and condemnation. Indonesian authorities have since apologised.
However way more than simply outrage and condemnation, consultants need the Federal Authorities to make use of the incident as a wake-up name to strengthen its overseas coverage to cease the disrespect of Nigerians overseas.
“On the diplomatic plain, a sturdy response to this outrageous conduct by Indonesia will definitely act as a deterrent within the quick circumstance we’ve discovered ourselves.
“In the long run, we should exert ourselves to rebuild and restore Nigeria to its misplaced glory – the period of the Nineteen Sixties, Nineteen Seventies and the early Eighties. With a sturdy politico-economic circumstance inside our nationwide house and figuring out that overseas coverage is a projection of home happenings, Nigeria might be higher regarded within the comity of countries,” a former Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Ogbole Amedu-Ode, mentioned.
Emphatically, Amedu-Ode mentioned the incident confirmed that Nigeria had misplaced its respect in lots of international locations overseas, but additionally warned Nigerians dwelling overseas to conduct themselves in ways in which wouldn’t entice disrespect to themselves and Nigeria at giant.
That is additionally the submission of Prof Bola Akinterinwa, the President/Director-Common of the Bolytag Centre for Worldwide Diplomacy and Strategic Research and a former Director-Common of the Nigerian Institute of Worldwide Affairs.
In a chunk on the assault on the Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia, Akinterinwa mentioned one main dynamic of Nigeria’s relationship with the Asian nation was a notion, notably from the angle of Indonesia.
“Many Nigerians are at present within the Indonesian cells and this issue has not, and can’t, make each the federal government and folks of Indonesia see Nigerians in good mild,” Ainterinwa wrote on ThisDayLive.com.
As there was no quick apology by the Indonesian authorities even after it was recognized that Ibrahim was a Nigerian diplomat, Akinterinwa identified that incidents like this is able to proceed to happen till Nigeria strengthened its overseas coverage.
He mentioned, “No matter is the case, till Nigeria adopts a overseas coverage that’s pushed by self-respect and rules of reciprocity, there’ll all the time be new instances of an egregious act of worldwide delinquency.
“The conduct and administration of Nigeria’s overseas coverage have all the time been achieved in a valley of disgrace and chicanery, which explains, partly, the unfavourable perceptions of Nigerians at residence and overseas and in addition why such egregious acts of worldwide delinquency all the time happen.
“From xenophobia and ‘Nigerianophobia’ in South Africa to Ghana’s assault on Nigeria’s Embassy, and now to Indonesia’s diplomatic delinquency, when will these acts be stopped?
“It has now turn out to be a desideratum to stop sacrificing the honour of being a Nigerian on the altar of diplomatic rhetoric as a result of no quantity of economic compensation by Indonesia might be enough for the kind of enslavement and savagery to which Mr Ibrahim has been subjected.”
Akinterinwa added that Nigeria should transcend acknowledgement of the growing egregious acts of worldwide delinquency.
“Something in need of downgrading or closure of the diplomatic missions of each international locations is unacceptable. Nigerians should all the time be handled with due regard, decency, and punished for his or her offences the place needed on the idea of rule of legislation. By no means on the idea of jungle justice!” he mentioned.
As Akinterinwa famous, incidents of abuse of Nigerians have been ongoing for years. For instance, in Could 2015, cops in Equatorial Guinea allegedly beat up a Nigerian diplomat, Mr Noah Ichaba, on the streets of Bata, a port metropolis within the Litoral Province of Equatorial Guinea.
Ichaba, then a vice-consul of Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea, was reportedly overwhelmed to a pulp on his method to a market after the cops stopped his taxi driver.
Ichaba narrated on the time that the cops demanded his papers, at which level he introduced out his diplomatic identification card issued by the nation’s overseas ministry and confirmed it to the cops.
As an alternative of looking at his ID card, Ichaba claimed that the policemen snatched it from his hand, squeezed it and gave him a sudden slap on his face whereas pulling him out of the automobile.
The diplomat was later taken to the hospital for remedy whereas the Nigerian consulate, condemning the assault, decried that assaults on Nigerians within the Central African nation had been prolonged to diplomats, which was a violation of diplomatic immunity accorded diplomats by the Vienna Conference.
Two years earlier than this incident, an identical present of disrespect was accorded to Nigeria in Guinea Bissau when the Nigerian Embassy within the nation was attacked, resulting in the loss of life of a Nigerian and the harm of a number of others.
Some armed personnel and militia reportedly stormed the Nigerian Embassy and unleashed the mayhem, in keeping with reviews on the time.
Additionally, in June 2020, some armed males attacked the Nigerian Excessive Fee in Accra, Ghana, demolishing some residences beneath building to accommodate employees and guests.
Nonetheless, the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, apologised to President Buhari and promised to rebuild the demolished constructing.
In April 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nigerians in China have been additionally subjected to brutal racial assaults by the authorities of their host nation. They have been accused of being the purveyors of the virus even when a few of them had no latest journey historical past. Among the many victims are businessmen, travellers and college students.
Nigerians have been allegedly summarily evicted by their landlords on the behest of the police; denied entry to medical services, and turned away by lodges the place they sought various refuge. They have been additionally allegedly denied meals at eating places, corralled into quarantine, forcibly examined for the virus and their passports confiscated.
Related xenophobic assaults have occurred in South Africa on a number of events, phenomena consultants mentioned have been unacceptable diplomatic conduct.
In June 2021, the Beninoise authorities additionally reportedly arrested one Pastor Kunle Gab for resisting encroachment on Nigerian borders.
Gab was reportedly arrested alongside his interpreter, Benjamin Amosu, by Gendarmes (Benin Republic Police) in a Gestapo model at Igbokofi, Yewa North Native Authorities Space of Ogun State.
The scenario has since generated outrage by the Nigerian authorities, with the Senate demonstrating anger on the encroachment on Nigerian lands by the Benin Republic authorities.
Political scientist and media scholar, Mr Ayo Olukotun, mentioned now was the time Nigeria ought to rejig its overseas coverage to command the respect it deserves from different international locations.
He mentioned, “If Nigeria had learnt this lesson lengthy prior to now, it could have established a presence on the world stage during which different nations will worry or tremble to check its will. That’s one other manner of claiming that there are penalties, a few of them tragic of being left far behind within the developmental race.
“Even in Africa, during which Nigeria is putatively a large, a number of international locations hitherto not reckoned with and a few of them war-torn had by-passed it in a number of essential dimensions of progress and human safety. How a lot regard, to place it frankly, can a rustic that’s closely debt-ridden, just lately categorised by the Worldwide Financial Fund as a high-risk debtor nation with galloping insecurity, and several other components of it transformed into killing fields get pleasure from overseas?”
“Diplomacy alone, nevertheless adroit, is not going to get us the respect we want overseas; equally, if no more necessary is to earn respect by orderliness in place of the present bedlam, a scaling up of our financial fortunes and ultimately because the brief time period seems to be misplaced, the type of affluence and may that can make different nations even when they dislike us to cease making an attempt our will,” he added.
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