Implications Of Maltreating Nigerians In Diaspora.
Recently, a viral video of a Nigerian diplomat, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim who was manhandled and arrested by Indonesian immigration officials in front of his official quarters surfaced on the internet.
In the video, two officials were seen holding his hands pinned in the backseat gasping for breath and making a distress call.
Anger, consternation and shock trailed the mishandling of the diplomat by Indonesian immigration officials from Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry and civil societies with the issuance of a torrent of condemnations based on the viral video recording.
Although, the Indonesian government had tendered an apology to the country but that did not prevent the ministry of foreign affairs from recalling the ambassador.
There can be no justification for the inhuman treatment meted out to a Nigerian diplomat in a faraway Asian country with which Nigeria had enjoyed good diplomatic relations.
Apart from the diplomat that was assaulted, there are instances of situations where other Nigerians have been badly treated probably as a result of how some Nigerians behave outside the country or the issue of racism.
In April this year, a civil society organisation petitioned the federal government demanding an end to alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in Diaspora.
The maltreatment of Nigerians in Diaspora is a pointer to the economic situation that has driven people away from the country in search of the greener pastures, as some Nigerians trooped out of the country without requisite skills and sometimes may become a problem to the host nations.
The fact that some Nigerians allegedly engage in some criminal activities, there are still so many decent Nigerians doing legitimate businesses and contributing to the development of their host communities.
The manhandling and torturous treatment meted on the diplomat is a most offensive development that falls short of the standard of treatment deserving of a Nigerian not to talk of a diplomat or any other human being.
The minister of foreign affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, explained the rough-handling of the diplomat as clearly unacceptable and a breach of articles 29 and 30 of the Vienna convention.
Article 29 provides that the person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable, he shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention, the receiving state shall treat him with due respect, and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on his person, freedom or dignity.
Article 30 provides that the private residence of a diplomatic agent shall enjoy the same inviolability and protection as the premises of the mission and his papers, correspondence and, except as provided in paragraph 3 of article 31, his property, shall likewise enjoy inviolability.
To underscore the importance of Nigerians having better treatment in Diaspora, there is the need for government to exert its diplomatic rights and privileges by imposing serious and far- reaching restrictions on Indonesian authorities, if they can show reluctance in bringing the immigration officials to justice.
It is pertinent that government should look inwards and handle issues of governance in a manner that people are catered for and opportunities created for citizens to work in Nigeria and add value to themselves rather than rush abroad where they will be molested.
Government needs to take drastic steps to ensure that the respect of its sovereignty and international diplomatic rights is not trampled upon so that countries like Indonesia will not undermine the authority of the nation to infringe on the rights of the citizens and Nigeria as a whole.
Nigerians on their part must be ready to be good ambassadors of the country wherever they find themselves in order to add value to the nation’s image.