"If a Nigerian commits a crime, let him pay the penalty for it as a punishment, but you cannot penalize a nation and its citizens".
The Nigerian government has issued a stern warning to Togo and Ghana over what it claims are 'xenophobic attacks' attacks of Nigerians in those countries.
While addressing journalists in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairlady of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), stated that following recent attacks on Nigerians living in those countries, it has become necessary for the government to take a firm stand and protect its citizens.
Dabiri-Erewa urged on the foreign nations to protect the rights and freedoms of Nigerians in the same manner that their own citizens are being protected in Nigeria.
Right now, we are dealing with the issue of attacking Nigerian traders in Ghana. We have the assurances of the President of Ghana through the high commission here and ours in Ghana that Nigerian traders will be protected. So we are also going to be emphasizing that the life of one Nigerian means a lot to us anywhere in the world," she said.
Of course, we have the issue of Ghana, the professor whose appointment was terminated by his university because of the tape he released. Well, it turned out that he didn’t actually record, I mean that was a private meeting with Nigerians in Ghana, it was like a private discussion. And he also claimed that part of the tape was actually doctored. The matter is being looked into by the Nigeria high commission in Ghana and I believed those matters will be resolved subsequently.”
Dabiri-Erewa said the Togolese ambassador has been contacted on the issues of attacks on Nigerians in the country.
And the issues happening around neighboring countries like Togo. In Togo, we have Nigerians attacked. We have also seen the Togolese ambassador and made it clear that the lives of Nigerians must be protected anywhere they are because we take care of others here and we deserve to be taken care of," she said.
“So we will be working more on that as we appealed to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they find themselves.”
“So, we will be engaging more with the diaspora. Subsequently, we are going to have hotlines for Nigerians in the diaspora so that they can contact the commission and we can look into whatever challenges they are facing,” she said.
The Chairlady also expressed increased concerns over the rise of attacks against Nigerians in other European countries such as the UK. While admitting that there are some Nigerians who breach the laws of the countries that they are residing in, that should not be taken as a yardstick by which all Nigerians are judged upon. She further noted that if one breaks the laws in whichever country they reside in, they should face the consequences, however, villifying an entire nation and attacking other law-abiding Nigerians simply because of their nationality is an unfair practice which should not be tolerated.
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