NASS orders investigation into harassment of Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia

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The House of Representatives of the Nigerian National Assembly has ordered an investigation into the molestation of Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia by the country’s immigration personnel. The House, in a statement by the Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, National Assembly, condemned the Ill-treatment meted on a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer in Indonesia, calling for Investigations and appropriate sanctions against the erring officers.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, decried that the content of a video trending on social media where an identified Nigerian Foreign Service Officer was being treated by a group of Indonesian Immigration officers in a manner that is not consistent with his status as a Diplomat.

The Committee, equally, condemned in no light terms, every alleged interrogation or arrest purportedly arising from the manner of action or response to questions by the Nigerian Foreign Service Officer to the interrogations of the Indonesian Immigration authorities. The Committee also stressed that any such arrest or questioning remains nothing but a gross abuse of the letters and spirit of Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), which states, inter alia, that,

“Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution”

Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Buba Yakub, on Monday, lamented that Nigeria and Nigerians have been taken for granted across the world for far too long, declaring that it was, therefore, time to speak up and tell the world that Nigeria is no longer prepared to take anyone’s insults lying low; and that it is time to reciprocate whatever the country receives from anyone in equal measures. He challenged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters to summon the Head of the Indonesian Mission in Nigeria and to also recall for consultations the Nigeria High Commissioner in Indonesia to demand full explanations from both officials, the meaning of what the world is at present watching on social media with respect to the treatment of a Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia last weekend.

While threatening that, as a Parliament the House, when reconvenes, will leave no stone unturned in its bid to safeguard the interests of Nigerian Foreign Service Officers anywhere in the world, the Committee Chairman said the House would stop at nothing, including pushing the Federal Government to invoke Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to declare everyone at the Indonesian Embassy in Abuja a persona non grata if their nation’s authorities failed to  effectively explain their actions against Ibrahim, the Nigerian embassy officer, that was said to have been beaten, tortured and arbitrarily detained for several hours until ransom was, allegedly, paid to the Immigration authorities.

The lawmaker declared: “Again, for us as a responsible Parliament, one that is responsive to the yearnings and security of those that we represent, this scene of humiliation from  Indonesia is totally unacceptable, reprehensive, barbaric, inhumane, wicked and offensive to the intentment of Article 37 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which, unequivocally, states thus:’ Diplomatic privileges and immunities guarantee that diplomatic agents (such as Nigeria’s Mr. Ibrahim in Indonesia) or even their immediate family: May not be arrested or detained, May not have their residences entered and searched, May not be subpoenaed as witnesses, May not be prosecuted. But, alas, in this case, the entirety of this Article has suffered a gross breach. All men and women of goodwill must stand up to condemn it, for it is and for what it portends for the future of Diplomacy across the globe.”

Buba said that in line with Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), the Convention, which at the last count, has been ratified by about 193 countries across the globe, must be strengthened to offer equal protection to both the strong countries of the world and the weak ones in real terms. He said the experience in Indonesia has struck a new chord in international relations that may really not resonate with the realities of an innocent world where it was, hitherto, thought that all countries are equal, since each sees itself as a sovereign state.

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