Diplomatic Row: Nigeria Office To Be Forced Out Of Taiwan

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Nigeria Trade Office in Taiwan will be forced to relocate outside Taipei following the forced eviction of Taiwanese diplomats from the nation’s trade mission in Nigeria’s capital, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The Nigerian government on Friday sent 25 armed police officers to seal off the Taiwanese office and force remaining personnel to leave, the ministry said, adding that the personnel left after protesting the move.

The ministry said it had lodged a solemn protest, calling on the Nigerian government to cease taking extreme measures and immediately withdraw police to allow the case to be handled through rational discussion.

The Nigerian government in January announced during a visit by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi that Taiwan would be forced to shut down its office in Abuja and relocate it to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city and financial center.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang yesterday said there was no physical confrontation, but declined to specify what ministry personnel were doing at the site.

The trade mission was closed in April following a formal Nigerian government ultimatum on March 31, which also resulted in the withdrawal of Representative Chao Chia-pao.

The Nigerian government on June 14 gave a one-week deadline for the office to be relocated, the ministry said in previous statements.

The ministry yesterday said that it had already begun the process of moving the trade mission to Lagos, expressing “dissatisfaction” and “regret” over coercion by the Nigerian government.

The move to Lagos could be delayed if the Nigerian government continues to deny the ministry’s personnel access to the former office.

“As soon as we have finished moving to the new office, we will take responsive measures to require Nigeria to move its representative office out of Taipei,” she said.

The Nigerian government in 2004 closed and sealed off a mission in Lagos for five months, the ministry said, declining to provide details regarding that incident.

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Hamilton Nwosa

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