LAWMAKER CONDEMNS PERSECUTION OF NIGERIANS ABROAD
A former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain and the Holy Sea (Vatican), Dr. Kingsley S. Ebenyi, has condemned the persistent persecution of Nigerians abroad. He said the recent molestation of Nigerians by the Malaysian Police was unacceptable.
Ebenyi, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, described as outrageous and provocative the action by the Malaysian Police that clamped down on any Nigerian in sight, even legitimate students who had committed no crime. In a statement issued by his aide, Mr Titus Agbo, the former ambassador said no nation would watch with hands akimbo and allow the continuous dehumanisation of its citizens.
'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must liaise effectively with Nigerian missions overseas to be proactive and respond spontaneously to distress calls. We must make a statement; that, gone are the days, Nigerians would be brutalized for no just cause. We must be seen as providing protection for our citizens wherever they are as our primordial concern,' Ebenyi said.
'There must be total re-orientation of embassy staff for quick response, so that Nigerians would have a sense of belonging. Our foreign missions must embark on mass enlightenment of critical sectors and authorities of their host countries, such as the immigration, police and other security arms,' he opined. Ebenyi urged the Foreign Affairs Ministry to intervene immediately on the fate of the brutalized Nigerians, especially the reported cases of Nigerian students allegedly shot by the Malaysian Police and demand for adequate compensation and prosecution of those who carried out the dastardly acts.
The former ambassador also advised the various Ministries of Information, Culture and Tourism including Youths and Sports, to evolve a cultural package that would showcase to the outside world the best of Nigeria in its diversity of arts and culture, tourist centres, the etho and food of the tribes that populate the country.
'Let's have exchange programmes that would be aired on foreign televisions, the giant strides Nigeria had achieved in sports: football and athletics, wrestling, taekwondo, including boxing. Good documentaries of our footballers have a way of portraying the nation in good light,' he advised.
Ebenyi said it was worthy of note that the country's Nollywood was beginning to receive positive responses overseas. He advised that films of high quality, and well produced that are not smeared with rituals should be well packaged and used in projecting the country overseas. He assured that cinematography, if well utilized, with credible and well written journals disseminated to the host nations, would reduce the incidence of categorizing every Nigerian as a potential criminal in addition to promoting good neighbourliness and making our citizens to earn adequate respect.
He sympathized with families of those allegedly killed in Malaysia and also urged the students who were dehumanized and detained unjustly to shake off the stigma so that it does not affect their education or their relationship with their hosts. Ebenyi advised all Nigerians living abroad not to stay in isolation and should register with missions overseas so that the embassies would be able to reach them in during distress.