Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed at the weekend that the Federal Government will investigate attacks on Nigerian traders in Ghana and other countries.
She disclosed this on a Lagos-based national television programme monitored by The Sun.
Dabiri-Erewa, who also met with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, said the case of a professor sacked over a leaked conversation with some Nigerians is being addressed.
She said: “Of course, we have the issue of Ghana, the professor whose appointment was terminated by his university because of the tape he released.
“Well, it turned out he didn’t actually record, I mean, that was a private meeting with Nigerians in Ghana, it was like a private discussion and he also claimed that part of the tape was actually doctored.
“The matter is being looked into by the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana and I believe those matters would be resolved subsequently. But, right now, we are dealing with the issue of attacking Nigerian traders in Ghana.
“We have the assurances of the President of Ghana, through the High Commission, here, and ours, in Ghana, that Nigerian traders would be protected.
“So, we are also going to emphasise that the life of one Nigerian means a lot to us anywhere in the world and the issues happening around neighbouring countries like Togo.
“In Togo, Nigerians were attacked. One woman alleged that she was raped and she turned out to be his girlfriend. We have also seen the Togolese ambassador and made it clear that the lives of Nigerians must be protected anywhere they are because we take care of others here and we deserve to be taken care of.
“If a Nigerian commits a crime, let him pay the penalty for it as a punishment, but, you cannot penalise a nation and its citizens.
Asked to clarify the status of the president’s aides, since Buhari began a second term on May 29, she replied: “Well, I’m chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission and the president decides on his aides.
“That is the president’s prerogative. Some aides are still functioning but, I tell you no aide is collecting any salary.
“So, if the president feels you can still play a role, you can still play the role until it is officially done. What I know is that no Special Adviser or SSA (Senior Special Assistant) is collecting salary.
“Every aide’s tenure elapsed on May 29. We are expecting some appointments by the president, I really can’t speak on that but I am chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission.”
On the case of Jeffrey Akpovweta Ewohime, 31, who smashed cars at the Nigerian High Commission in London, the United Kingdom, recently because he could not collect his passport same day, Dabiri-Erewa, said she is planning a stakeholders meeting with the Nigerian community to address challenges.
She said: “We will be having a stakeholders meeting in particular in the UK with the Nigerian community, the High Commission, the immigration, to look at whatever the challenges are so that they can be resolved, because I know that there are some challenges that are resolvable. So, we will be engaging more with the Diaspora.