The attention of Nigeria’s burgeoning online integrated media platform, ALEDEH, has been drawn to Abike Dabiri-Erewa’s constant condemnation of the killings of Nigerian citizens abroad.
The past few months have been a turbulent one for some Nigerians especially those in South Africa and India, no thanks to the extrajudicial killings of Nigerian citizens in these countries.
Though Dabiri-Erewa is the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, while Geoffrey Onyeama is Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, surprisingly, the Presidential aide seems to be doing the work of the Foreign Affairs Minister lately.
- Dabiri-Erewa calls for calm in India attacks (March 2017)
- Nigeria condoles with victims of US Hurricane Harvey (statement issued by Dabiri-Erewa – August 2017)
- Again, FG condemns extrajudicial killings of Nigerians in South Africa (statement issued by Dabiri-Erewa – September 2017)
- Dabiri-Erewa condemns Cameroon’s alleged deportation of Nigerian refugees (September 2017)
- Dabiri-Erewa condemns the killing of 3rd Nigerian in a month by South African police (October 2017).
While there are more instances, these are some of the moments Dabiri-Erewa stood up as Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister though she is a Presidential aide on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora and not a Minister.
This calls for questioning if Dabiri-Erewa is Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister or Geoffrey Onyeama?
In August, Dabiri-Erewa and Geoffrey Onyeama were locked in a supremacy battle over the Presidential aide’s travel advisory to Nigerians who intended to travel to the United States.
Dabiri-Erewa had asked Nigerians who had no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S to postpone their travel plans until President Donald Trump’s policy on immigration becomes clearer at the time.
The Presidential aide had said the warning became imperative due to series of reports of Nigerians being turned back at US airports.
Dabiri-Erewa said then that her office had been inundated with stories of Nigerians being handed raw deals at US airports.
ALEDEH recalls that her advisory arrived on the heels of Trump’s executive order which bars citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from gaining entrance into the US.
Though Nigeria was not listed among the foreign countries who were banned by Trump, however, Dabiri-Erewa said citizens of her country were being targeted.
“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with multiple entry US visas being denied entry and sent back to Nigeria”, Dabiri-Erewa had said.
She added: “in such cases reported to the office, such affected persons were sent back immediately on their next available flight and their visas were cancelled”.
Surprisingly, Dabiri-Erewa’s advisory was overruled by Geoffrey Onyeama who is Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
While Dabiri-Erewa said Nigerians should postpone their travel plans until Donald Trump’s policy on immigration becomes clearer, Onyeama, on the other hand, said Nigerians who want to travel to the US can go ahead and do so as there was nothing to worry about.
Onyeama said: “On the issue of Nigerians being turned back from the US, this is not the case. If the Nigerian government is speaking on any external relations, you will hear it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the President.
“I have reached out to the US Ambassador to Nigeria and the country’s high-level officials who said nothing of such had happened. I can tell you to ignore the advice to reconsider travelling to the US because there is no basis for that,” he added.
This did not only cause confusion at the time but also brought “shame” to Nigeria as it showed the World we are less coordinated.
Mr. Minister you said in August: “If the Nigerian government is speaking on any external relations, you will hear it from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the President”, how come the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” has suddenly refused to issue any statement regarding the extrajudicial killings of Nigerian citizens in South Africa?
Nigerians deported from Cameroon, Nigerian students attacked in India, third Nigerian killed in South Africa and yet “no word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”?
Why is Dabiri-Erewa issuing statements on the killings when issues on “any external relations” should be heard from the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Office of the President” as stated by you in August?
Is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs trying to avoid a repeat of the disagreement with the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora during Trump’s travel ban advisory?
Your silence on the extrajudicial killings of Nigerian citizens abroad is “golden” Mr. Minister “ACT NOW“.
Is Dabiri-Erewa instructed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue statements on the extrajudicial killings which has since become a norm in South Africa? Nigerians need answers.
The attacks on Nigerian citizens abroad is becoming unbearable, ALEDEH calls on Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister to “ACT NOW“, Dabiri-Erewa’s condemnation statements isn’t enough. Nigerians need some assurance on their safety abroad. May we remind Mr. Onyema the joy of Nigerians when he was appointed. Many hailed it because they all believe in your good credentials and expertise in foreign affairs and diplomacy. What is really wrong? Please, do the needful Mr. Minister…you’ve a pile of job to do.