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Nigeria: Foreign Affairs Ministry in complicity over Ambassador Oboro in Venezuela

By Onwanzu Ijeoma
Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibh, Permanent Secretary in Nigeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja
Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibh, Permanent Secretary in Nigeria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja
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Nigeria: Foreign Affairs Ministry in complicity over Ambassador Oboro in Venezuela.

An Ambassador, according to Henry Wotten (1568-1639) is an honest man sent to lie

abroad for the good of his country. But these days, due to technology and other scientific

methods, such lies could easily be detected by the international community. All the same,

the duty of an Ambassador abroad is not only to tell lies for the good of his country but to

positively shape the image of his country, improve bilateral and multilateral relations with

the government of his country of accreditation, protect his nationals and among others invite

foreign direct investment to his country.
But what if an Ambassador due to lack of understanding of international relations or greed

tarnishes the image of the sending country in the receiving State? This is where the problem

of Nigeria's Ambassador to Venezuela Chief Felix Oboro, comes up. He has exhibited lack

of understanding of international relations; also he has exhibited greed towards the Embassy

funds entrusted in his care and lack of respect of administrative and financial regulations

governing his appointment as an Ambassador.
Since September 25, 2010 till date, various news items and negative comments have been published on the

activities of Nigeria's Ambassador to Venezuela, Chief Felix Oboro to draw the attention

of the Federal government and Foreign Affairs Ministry to his undiplomatic and unpatriotic

activities. The more his embarrassing activities are made public, the greater, ethnic

consideration and financial inducements in form of oil bunkering are used to cover the same

by pointing accusing fingers at the wrong directions.

I was privileged to be at the Foreign Affairs Ministry during the induction course for newly

appointed Ambassadors and was reliably informed of the displeasure of many in that

Ministry towards the re-appointment of Ambassador Oboro, more so for him to remain in

Venezuela where he has lowered the image and esteem of the country in the last four years

but he would not be moved or removed because of power cult that he represents.

In the four years he has spent in Venezuela, I was informed by those in the know in Foreign

Affairs Ministry, Abuja, that he did not write a single political or economic report on how

to promote and improve relations with Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia. Rather, he

concentrated on writing damaging reports against career officers whom he sees as

obstacle in his quest to misuse Embassy funds.
He spends more time travelling to Nigeria without permission than being at his duty post

and yet those who should check his activities in the Ministry have turned blind eyes or looked

elsewhere.
During the induction course, it was observed that he was restless, going up and down to the

Presidency, the office of Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and the office of the Permanent

Secretary to beg for reconsideration. The Presidency according to sources did not want to

reappoint him but the magic method and words of the Foreign Affairs Minister did the trick.

I gathered from various sources in Abuja, that the newly appointed Ambassadors

particularly the political Ambassadors who have names and integrity to protect frowned

against his reappointment due to earlier information they had received on his activities

which included allegations that he was searched at Venezuela airport for

drugs and for allowing a suspected drug peddler, Mr. Joshua Jock to use the VIP lounge with

him in May last year (2011) on their way to Nigeria.

It was also gathered in Tafawa Balewa House in Abuja that his Deputy in the Embassy who had frowned at the reckless financial spending of Chief Oboro and his various unpatriotic activities advised him in writing early this year to clear his name by going to law court to sue the on-line newspapers, or to address a press conference, or write

a rejoinder when his unpatriotic and undiplomatic activities were published on line but Ambassador Oboro refused to take any of the advise, rather, the Deputy who should be commended was harassed by the Ministry without any investigation.

After comprehensive investigation and with information at my disposal, l found out that Ambassador Oboro's problems started long before the said official arrived in Venezuela. Recently, some highly placed political class from Niger Delta gave me copy of an on-line article written on Ambassador Oboro in 2010, long before the Deputy arrived in Venezuela. So how could he be the problem of the Ambassador?

In that online publication, Ambassador Oboro was negatively mentioned in September 25,

2010 edition of www.elombah.com which exposed passport racketeering in the Embassy

through the knowledge of the Ambassador. Many Nigerians including some Africans residing

in Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia, confirmed the passport and Visa racketeering issue.

I was informed at Foreign Affairs Ministry that Ambassador Oboro is no longer practically

relevant to anybody any more than what his despicable tenure has been to the image of

Nigeria.
This Ambassador did more harm than good to Nigeria in Venezuela in a very awfully cynical

way. His tenure brought total darkness to the image of Nigeria in Venezuela. And now

that he has manipulated himself to remain in that country, the image of Nigeria will suffer

atrophy. Nigerians in that country are unhappy and invariably said his reappointment as Head of Mission is a thorn that will bring more damages to the image of the country. About one and

half months ago, Ambassador Oboro and the Consular officer instigated the arrest of innocent hard working Nigerians in a power show exercise which further darkened the image of Nigeria.

For those covering the truth in Foreign Affairs Ministry, I have more dossiers that would be

released to the press soon. For instance, how is it possible that the Permanent Secretary in the

Ministry continues to collect his allowances at post for months in Nigeria's Mission in Switzerland

after he assumed duty as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry? May be this is one of the reasons why nothing has been done to the various reports indicting Ambassador Oboro because the person

expected to act has things to cover himself.It is the view of this reporter that the Permanent Secretary steps aside to allow proper investigation be carried out on this.

Also I learnt that for months, Top Management meetings of Senior Officers in the Ministry of

Foreign Affairs where Policy issues are considered have not been regularly held since the present

Permanent Secretary assumed duty.As such reports on Ambassador Oboro which should have been discussed are left unattended to, and remain in the hand of the few members of kitchen cabinet of the Permanent Secretary.

How come that the accountant that pays illegitimate funds to Ambassador Oboro, has not

been queried for violation of financial rules and regulations framed by the same Foreign

Affairs Ministry? It is also known that the same accountant brazenly kept tax payers money in private bank account probably with the knowledge of someone in the Ministry.

I am informed and l experienced it during my numerous visits to the Ministry that the electricity supply to Tafawa Balewa House is not regular despite the availability of a giant generator. No working tools and there is lack of immediate attention to improve the welfare of staff by the Permanent Secretary.

This brings me to the questions of the financial misdemeanors of Ambassador Oboro which

led to a query from the Ministry after an inspection team from Abuja confirmed the misuse

of $74,000 (Seventy four thousand United States Dollars) to treat his step son. He has been

instructed to refund same but till date he has not done that simply because he says he represents the President home State, Bayelsa. Also, he informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs that he was not advised that it is against financial rules and regulations to spend such fund. He has recently informed the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs that he should now be allowed to make refund within a year. In other words Ambassador Oboro is saying that he should be allowed to remain in the Embassy to use government money to refund the same government.

It is ironical, the Permanent Secretary has not only bought this suggestion but has been seriously and dedicatedly suppressing other illegitimate claims Ambassador Oboro should refund. What about his money stashed in both Foreign and Nigerian banks? The officers that encouraged him in financial recklessness are also walking tall with pride that nothing will happen to them.

Readers would recall in my last report, I did mention some specific names of people

Ambassador Oboro had used to carry out his atrocities in Venezuela. One was Mr. Victor

Anamelechi; President of Nigeria Welfare Association whom he used to fraudulently claim the paternity of his grandson to enable the grandson obtained Venezuelan nationality. Efforts to reach Mr. Anamelechi disclosed that he has fled Venezuela to a neighboring country to avoid being investigated. I could therefore not reach him. My question is why is he running if he has not committed any offense? Yet, the Ministry leadership supports Ambassador Oboro to fraudulently obtained Venezuelan ordinary passport for his grandson.

The head of finance and administration in the Embassy who pointed out the irregularities at Nigeria's Mission in Venezuela was replaced by an officer on training Programme to rubber stamp unqualified entitlements of Ambassador Oboro without explanation. I think it is a measure to victimize or cow him down for daring to report the undiplomatic activities of Ambassador Oboro to Tafawa Balewa House. The question is what is the code of working ethics that guide staff of Foreign Affairs? Should he turn away his face when he discovered all the financial and administrative mismanagement in the Embassy?

A top politician from Niger Delta, whom Ambassador Oboro dangerously crossed his path leaked a letter at my disposal dated 10th May 2010, written by Ambassador Oboro, to President Goodluck Jonathan to apologize for his wrong doings against him while President Jonathan was Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State.

In the said letter which will be published soon, Ambassador Oboro demonised the personality of Chief DSP. Alamieysegha who made him politically relevant as having "the propensity to be corrupt and vulgar and l would not like to associate my political career with him till the end".

The top politician informed me that whenever, Ambassador Oboro, writes damaging letters against anyone, he flaunts copies of the same to show that he is capable to damage any personality. The top politician went ahead to state that any Nigerian Ambassador represents the personality of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .So, whatever wrong such an Ambassador does, the Head of Government accepts the blame. Chief Oboro has been embarrassing President Goodluck Jonathan beyond remedy. It is therefore a blasphemy that Ambassador Oboro has been reappointed.

Readers, particularly international observers and other stakeholders are waiting to see if a

Ministry that does not respect its own extant rules and regulations will respect the rule of law

by bringing Ambassador Oboro to book early. This will show that President Jonathan does not play ethnic card, political opponents like General Muhammadu Buhari have been talking against. The Permanent Secretary should be advised to step aside to avoid further cover up and complicity in the Ministry. Information on hand is that he has not only been given Ambassador Oboro logistics to evade refunds of illegal claims but suppresses reports that indict Chief Oboro.




Ambassador Oboro, the man in question