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Nigeria recalls envoy over abuse in Indonesia

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Geoffrey Onyema


Nigeria has recalled its ambassador to Indonesia over the maltreatment of an unnamed diplomat in Jakarta by immigration officers.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, confirmed the video of the abuse that had gone viral on social media at the weekend.

He said: “When we saw the video on social media, we immediately contacted our Ambassador to Indonesia, who gave us a further account of what happened. He also confirmed that the video was indeed that of a Nigerian diplomat in the office. Apparently, this took place during a random search by Indonesian immigration of illegal and irregular migrants in their country.

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“The first thing we did was to request the ambassador to submit to us the full and comprehensive report of what happened. Of course, the decision of the Foreign Affairs Ministry was to lodge a formal and strong complaint to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta. Under international law, diplomats are infallible. This is a clear breach of the Vienna Convention.”

Onyema submitted that the Federal Government summoned the envoy to brief him on the displeasure of the country about the assault meted out to the official.

“On Monday, we summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador of Indonesia to Nigeria. Again, we also complained in the strongest terms regarding what had taken place. It is totally unacceptable under any circumstance whatsoever. Also on Monday evening, we received a comprehensive report from the Nigerian Ambassador in Indonesia, which we are studying and we also reinforce our previous condemnation of the incident,” he added.

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While narrating what happened, Onyema said the affected official became apprehensive thinking it was a case of kidnap when the immigration officials that apprehended him drove past the office he ought to be taken to and started struggling to raise an alarm. He reiterated that the Nigerian government takes the well-being of Nigerians resident in the Asian nation seriously.

The minister went on: “There is a large community of Nigerians in Indonesia. We have a mechanism for bilateral cooperation with the Asian country and the consular aspect of our relationship is also a very important one because there are so many Nigerians in Indonesia. We have been having complaints about some Nigerians and it is something we have been engaging robustly with the Indonesian government about. Some of the issues we do have in a number of countries and Indonesia is no exemption.”

Onyema clarified that the recall was temporary to allow for full investigation into the incident and concrete steps to safeguard the Nigerian community in the country.

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