Attack On Diplomat: Retired, Serving Nigerian Envoys Talk Tough, Make Demands..

Indonesia Ambassador to Nigeria Usra Hendra Harahap
  • Call On Indonesia To Disengage Erring Immigration Officials..Reject Authorities’ Explanation
  • Insist Nigerian Govt Should Declare Indonesian Envoys In Nigeria Persona Non Grata
  • Demand Compensatory Measures To Rehabilitate Traumatized Consular Officer 
  • Hail Nigerian Govt’s Response

Against the backdrop of the soiled relationship between Nigeria and Indonesia currently, retired and serving envoys of Nigeria have been talking tough and making demands following the arrest and manhandling of one of their own, a Nigerian Consular officer serving at the country’s Embassy in Indonesian capital, Jakarta by Immigration officials last Saturday.

Flaying the Indonesian government over the violent and “uncivilized” action, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) and the Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria, (AFRPN) described the unwarranted attack as a glaring abuse of established conventions and international norms and conduct enshrined in the Vienna Convention (1961) on Diplomatic Relations.

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The New Diplomat had reported that a Nigerian diplomat was seen in a viral video being manhandled, following his arrest by immigration officials on Saturday in front of his official quarters in the Asian country.

In a statement, ARCAN appreciated the efforts of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama in demanding for justice and safeguarding the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians, while calling for other commensurate measures to address the injustice perpetrated against the Nigerian diplomat and the country.

This was contained in a statement issued by the association and made available to The New Diplomat, Thursday.

The statement reads, “The actions of the Indonesian Officials represent a modern-day display of gangsterism and inhuman behaviour towards a fellow human being, even if he was not a diplomatic agent, and must therefore be met with robust response from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the application of measures that may include a complete reassessment of Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with Indonesia. ARCAN rejects the statement credited to the Head of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia which makes no sense and an obvious attempt to cover up the barbaric action of the Immigration officials, and a clear indication of the unacceptable manner foreigners, legal or illegal, are treated in the country.

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“ARCAN stands in solidarity with the NIGERIAN Government and in this regard looks forward to adequate compensatory measures to be dispensed to the traumatized Consular Officer including appropriate and adequate medical treatment, as well as other measures, to help in his rehabilitation.

“ARCAN is of the hope that at the end of all this, other rogue officials in Indonesia and elsewhere in the world, would have learnt the necessary lessons and ensure that this type of clear breach and barbaric behaviour never rears its head again.”

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Earlier, The New Diplomat reported that the government of Indonesia had apologised for the actions of its officials, attributing the manhandling of the Nigerian envoy to a misunderstanding.

According to the Indonesian authorities, the diplomat was picked up by immigration officers after they received a tip about a group of foreign nationals whose residence permits had expired.

The diplomat was alleged to be uncooperative and refused to turn over his documents when confronted in the lobby of an apartment building, so was taken into custody, according to Ibnu Chuldun, the head of the Jakarta branch of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, which handles immigration issues.

On its own part, AFRPN, a group, which is composed of serving and retired Nigerian ambassadors, also described the assault and strangulation of a Nigerian diplomat, Mr Mohammed Buba, by Indonesian Immigration officials as undiplomatic and uncivilized.

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President of the group, Ambassador Gani Lawal, said members endorsed the statement by the National Assembly threatening to declare Indonesian embassy staff in Nigeria persona non grata, which would lead to their recall to Jakarta.

In the statement, titled: ‘’Undiplomatic and uncivilized treatment of a Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia,’’ the group called for the sacking of the immigration officials.

Ambassador Lawal said the assault on Buba was a violation of Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.

He said: “The association recommends the immediate disengagement of all the Indonesian immigration officers involved in such uncivilized manner to desecrate the age-long tradition of inviolability of diplomatic agent and their family and property as provided by Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) which states that; “Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution.

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“The AFRPN commends the immediate step taken by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in summoning the Indonesian ambassador before receiving the full report from its embassy as a first step in the series of reactions reserved for such heinous diplomatic blunder.

“Equally commendable is the subsequent step taken by MFA after receiving the missions report by inviting home the Nigerian ambassador for consultation while expecting the Indonesian ambassador to toe the diplomatic avenue by equally returning to Jakarta until satisfactory explanation and necessary restitutive steps are taken by Indonesian authorities to assuage frayed nerves.”

While the ministry is still reviewing the state of our bilateral relations with Indonesia, the group said it was awaiting a robust reaction to serve as deterrent to future occurrence of such treatment to ‘’any of our diplomats and embassy home based staffs and indeed any Nigerian citizen from anywhere across the globe.”

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The group strongly recommended that the family of the concerned diplomat be adequately compensated materially and, in terms of health, for the traumatic treatment meted out on them, while public apology satisfactory to the government and people of Nigeria must be tendered, as well as an assurance against repeat occurrence.

It also noted “the position of the house committee on diplomatic relations to move to invoke Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to declare everyone at the Indonesian Embassy in Abuja persona non grata, if their nation’s authorities failed to effectively explain their actions against the Nigerian diplomatic agent.”

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