Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said Citizens diplomacy will take the centre stage in his agenda.
Under the policy, a help desk will be provided and a toll number be made available for Nigerians to call from wherever they are across the world for immediate response on any issue. Onyeama stated this yesterday while addressing the management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Onyeama also said the security of Nigerians around the world will be taken seriously in an aggressive and robust manner by ensuring that the rights and security of Nigerians are respected anywhere in the world.
On the issue of anti-corruption, Onyeama assured that the government will continue to engage with countries of the world to ensure the repatriation of looted funds. Drawing attention to attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, Onyeama took note of the bi-national commission between both countries at the presidential level, adding that the government was looking at a special relationship between South Africa and Nigeria.
He said the effort could be a game-changer for Africa in the same way that the German-Franco alliance after the Second World War had been the engine of the European Union. “We will want to see a situation where that will be the case, South Africa and Nigeria driving Africa economically, socially for the next 50 or so years. And in that framework, we need to address this issue of the security of Nigerians in South Africa at the very highest level.
“When the two presidents are engaged on this, I think that all those below that have to do something will be forced to do something, and in particular, the South African police. As I mentioned, there is a trust deficit between Nigerians living in South Africa and the South African Police. And I think it is important that we get the two working together to address this issue.
“It is something we are going to be taking up obviously at the ministerial level, but most importantly, at the level of the president,” Onyeama assured. On regional integration, Onyeama said Nigeria will avail itself the opportunity of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to define the success of the organisation.