Attacks on Nigerian nationals: Moves Nigerian government should consider pragmatically

Pix: Crowd at rally at Gani Fawehimi Park Ojota Lagos, During the 2nd day, Nationwide Peaceful Protest, On Subsidy remover by Fed Govt of Nigeria , Organised by Nigeria Labour Congress, in Lagos. Photo: Joe Akintola, Photo Editor

The handling of diplomatic issues by the Nigerian government has remained on the unstructured radar of strategic lethargy. The laxity and uncoordinated enforcement to core diplomatic matters, by and large expresses a reflection of poor play of the political game of international relations. The political deficiencies among other demeaning attributes on the Nigerian polity have compounded to place the Country in the negative light of being taken for granted before other nations of the international realm.

Bans and attacks on Nigerian nationals in other nations of the world have become a slapping on the image of the Nigerian state. The experience has taken a more lamentable narrative even as Nigerians are now suffering the fate of unwholesome treatment even within the African continent and much more close, within the West Africa sub region. Attacks on Nigerians and their businesses in Ghana, a West African State, has lasted for years without the government taking concrete actions and enforceable steps. The application of the instrument of carrot and cane remains key elements of international politics, every government  must  learn to deploy appropriately when matters of diplomatic significance arise.  The spate of the hostile narrative have heightened in recent times with attacks on Nigerian-owned businesses. The promulgation of hostile policies targeted at foreign businesses with emphasis on Nigerian owned ventures which hold a significant chunk of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises within the State. The attack on the Nigerian Mission in Accra was an affront that shows the Country has lost relevance and respect as the known “Giant of Africa.” It is now clear the Giant has become a subject of reproach dared with flagrant confrontations and assault. This to a large extent holds sway to the sheer cowardice demonstrated over time on issues of open diplomatic attacks on the Nigerian State.

Caught in the midst of a twist, Nigerian traders in Ghana on Wednesday had called on the Nigerian government to evacuate them, following ill treatment in the West African Country. The traders, in an evacuation letter delivered to the Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had written that they were seeking a secure and peaceful return to Nigeria. In the letter, the traders expressed worries that their evacuation had become necessary in the face of constant and consistent harassments, intimidation, torture, threat to their lives and the total lockdown of their means of livelihood in Ghana. In their lamentation, they said that their shops had been locked up for about a year by Ghanaian authorities.

“Diplomatic niceties at the highest level between Nigeria and Ghana have not yielded positive results. Landlords are coming to ask us for rent. How do we pay with our shops locked up for so long? We are dying here,” they further cried in their letter of lamentation.

According to a statement signed by NiDCOM’s Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit, Gabriel Odu, it was disclosed that the traders belonged to two associations in Ghana, the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) and the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS). The evacuation letter, endorsed by 753 traders in the two associations, was delivered by a delegation led by the President of NANTS, Dr Ken Ukoaha.

Recall that at the heightening of similar onslaught on Nigerians in South Africa, some Nigerians were similarly enjoined to the fate of evaluation in 2019.

Duty falls on the Federal Government to wake from slumber to the reality of holding with strong grip, the political play of diplomacy with the required tact and vigour which international politics demands. The years of diplomatic docility and laxity has hit the Country with stifling blows in the international system. Shying away from attacks on Nigerian nationals and their properties in other parts of the world, shows a lack of understanding and a disinterested posture to international politics. It is evidently a reflection of no connecting bond between the government and the citizens of the Country. It is essential for the Government to begin to appreciate the necessity of understanding the tenets and principles that influence international politics, while deploying the necessary resources to strategically direct the Country’s diplomatic relations to reaping the interests obtainable from such politics.

The effects of bad and irresponsive governance have continued to push Nigerians to flee the Country at all costs. The desperation has placed Nigerians at the mercy of foreign Countries where they flee to despite ill treatment meted out against them. To save the Country from the prevailing international embarrassment, it is essential that the Government begin to take with full fledged approach, the necessity to address the disarray of domestic challenges from  socio-economic to the political spheres of life within the Country.

It is practically evident that the prevailing migration from the Country abroad, would be at a very minimal rate were situations in the Country palatable. It is therefore key for the Government to stem the spread of embarrassment in the international realm, to ensure that matters of governance be taken serious across board for Nigerian citizens to believe in their own Country, live in it and work for its development. A persistence of the prevailing circumstances leave many with no choice than to consider fleeing the Country at all costs to foreign Countries where news of good conditions of living is being told and experienced.