Nigerian Community In Cote d’Ivoire Condemns Media Attack On Consular Officer
The Nigerian Community in Cote d’Ivoire has condemned media attacks on the person of Mr. Damilola Abikoye. the Nigerian Consular Officer in Abidjan.
The Community in a Statement signed by Chief Emeka Onwuchelu and Mr. Izuchukwu Dike-Ononiwu, its President and Secretary General respectively said allegations against Abikoye were untrue and ill conceived.
It said the publication calling for the recall of the Consular Officer for alleged diplomatic infractions, should be ignored as it neither represented the opinions of Nigerians in that county nor their collective interest.
The petition signed by Mr. Lawani Waliou and Mr. Akinwale Tajudeen, had accused Abikoye of using his position to stop the transition to issuance of analogue cards for selfish gains as against biometric cards.
They also accused him of stopping their freedom of association and breeding chaos.
“Embassy of Nigeria should be directed to pave the way for harmony, concord and cooperation among Nigerians in Côte d’lvoire,” it stated.
But the Community which said it was duly elected in a process monitored by the Consulate in 2021 contended that the petition was an attack, authored by an illegitimate group not known to the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire.
It said there were no looming diplomatic incidents or irate reactions from Nigerians in Côte I’vore as alleged by the petitioners adding that they were experiencing a peaceful and stable stay.
The leadership of the Nigerian community said that Abikoye had used his administrative tact to check the proliferation of renegade groups which had reduced the embarrassment caused by their nefarious activities.
According to them, the Embassy of Nigeria in Cote d’Ivoire has always upheld the rights of Nigerians and has never in any way stood in the way of their rights to association and management of their internal affairs.
“The Consular Officer, Mr Damilola Olufemi Abikoye is a man of integrity who has been working assiduously and should be commended for his unalloyed cooperation with the current administration of the Nigerian Community.
“The relationship has helped to restore sanity, achieve a more cordial relationship among the citizens and see to their holistic welfare,” it stated.
The group said the mode of identification for citizens of a country was the prerogative of the Embassy and that the decision to change it lied with the government and not the Consular Officer.
It said the claim that the analogue consular card is used as a lucrative source of illicit enrichment is an absolute falsehood noting that it was embarrassing that petitioners could go to the length of dictating the operations of the Embassy.
“On Consular Identity Card, it is the responsibility of the Nigerian Embassy to dictate the mode of identification for its citizens in Cote d’Ivoire, the decision to change from an analogue to a biometric one lies solely with the Embassy,
“What the Embassy will not do is to throw in their weight behind criminal activities which these individuals are so deeply involved in.
“We hereby appeal to the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to disregard this petition and investigate this set of individuals and see that they are called to account for their activities and the embarrassment they cause the country,” it stated.