Nigeria speaks after Congolese govt ejects ambassador from residence

Abike Dabiri-Erewa Credit: Opinion Nigeria

Congolese security operatives on Thursday brushed aside diplomatic immunity usually enjoyed by representatives of foreign governments to eject the Nigerian Ambassador to Congo, Ibim Charles, from his official residence.

The ambassador’s residence is in the highbrow district of Gombe in Kinshasa, the capital city, reserved for diplomats.

A video of the ejection by the Congolese government officials went viral on social media.

In the video, properties belonging to the Nigerian Embassy were thrown out of the building, with some officials seen stranded outside after they were locked out of their accommodation.

It was not immediately clear why the embassy was subjected to the treatment, which is said to have happened on Thursday.

The incident came few weeks after the Nigerian government voiced its displeasure over the maltreatment of Nigerians in most African countries.

In the video, the ambassador was seen expressing shock over the sack from the accommodation, which he said was donated to the Nigerian mission in the late 1970s.

Read also: Xenophobia: How South African police assaulted me — Ex-BBA housemate, Tayo Faniran

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Nigerians resident in Ghana, South Africa and Togo have lately faced attacks in recent times. Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians have continued especially in South Africa with many killed.

In June, the federal government, through the chairperson of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged an end to the attacks.

Mrs Dabiri-Erewa issued the warning after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari after briefing him about such attacks to Nigerians in Ghana and Togo.

Embassy not closed

The Nigerian government meanwhile has said that the embassy has not been closed by the DRC.

Ferdinard Nwonye, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

“The Nigerian Embassy in Democratic Republic of Congo was not shut down. There was a dispute on one of the properties of the mission where officials were residing,” he said.

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“When we reported the matter to the Congolese government, the country authorities intervened immediately and the property was handed back to the Nigerian mission.

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“The mission bought the property but is still in the process of updating the documents, which are still under Zaire, former name of the country.

“The Head of Mission has written to the Permanent Secretary and we are on top of the situation. I can also confirm that activities were not disrupted in our embassy in Congo.”

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