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Archive for Nigeria

Newsline: Death of Nigeria-based US embassy guard investigated

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the recent death of a Marine who had been working as embassy security in the Nigerian capital. Cpl. Elwin Ramirez was stationed at the U.S. embassy in Abuja, according to a Facebook post by the Marine Security Guard page. “We extend our most heartfelt condolences to Cpl. Ramirez’s family and friends, and we ask that you please respect their privacy during this difficult time,” the post read. “I can confirm that NCIS is conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Cpl. Elwin Ramirez, as we do in response to any non-combat, medically unattended deaths of Department of the Navy service members,” Jeff Houston, an NCIS spokesperson, told Marine Corps Times. “Out of respect for the investigative process, NCIS will not comment further while the investigation continues.” (https://news.yahoo.com/death-nigeria-based-marine-embassy-180336252.html) The Marine Corps did not respond by publication to an inquiry about when Ramirez died.

Newsline: US authorizes diplomats to leave Nigerian capital

The United States authorized the departure of diplomats from the Nigerian capital Abuja, stepping up precautions over what it said was the threat of attacks. The State Department said in a statement it was permitting but not requiring non-emergency US personnel and their families to leave Abuja “due to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks.” It did not order an evacuation and overall travel advice to Americans was unchanged, with the State Department advising citizens to reconsider non-essential travel to Nigeria due to concerns over crime and unrest. The latest US security move comes after the embassy on Sunday urged Americans to limit their movements due to an “elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja,” a warning repeated by Britain, Canada and Australia. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-authorizes-diplomats-leave-nigerian-162354543.html) The United States did not specify the threat. Abuja, a pre-planned capital of six million people built in the 1980s, has historically been seen as safe but insurgents linked to the Islamic State group have claimed several attacks in surrounding areas over the past six months.

Newsline: US, UK embassies issue terror alerts for Nigerian capital

Residents in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, were on high alert on Monday, after the U.S. and U.K. issued warnings about possible attacks in the city. On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy issued an alert for “an elevated risk of terror attacks” in the city, saying that possible targets include government buildings, places of worship and other public places. “The U.S. Embassy will offer reduced services until further notice,” the mission said in a statement, urging citizens to avoid all nonessential movements and crowds. (https://www.kiro7.com/news/world/nigerian-capital/) The U.K. mission in Nigeria also took a similar step and restricted entry to the British High Commission in the city in an updated terrorism alert. Nigeria’s security forces have in the past warned of similar attacks in Abuja, which is also in the north. It was, however, spared most such incidents until July, when nearly 1,000 inmates escaped during a jailbreak carried out by Islamic State-backed extremists.

Newsline: Nigerian Consulate General raises alarm on ‘violent killings’ of Nigerians in South Africa

The Consulate General of Nigeria, based in Johannesburg, said it has noted with great concern reports of “violent killings” of Nigerian nationals in Durban. In a public notice issued by the Consulate General in Saxonwold, the Nigerian envoy expressed sadness over the “condemnable” murders. “The Consulate General, Johannesburg, has received with great concern reports of recent killings of Nigerians in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province. The killings, which happened in the last three weeks, are unnecessary, condemnable, and utterly callous. The Consulate General is saddened by the developments and hereby extends its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims,” the diplomatic mission said. (https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/world-news/nigerian-embassy-raises-alarm-on-violent-killings-of-nigerians-in-sa/) “While the mission is confident that the South African Police Service will conduct full and thorough investigations into the murders, it is pertinent to enjoin all Nigerians residing in KwaZulu-Natal province to remain calm, security conscious and law-abiding. The Consulate General advised Nigerian families directly impacted by the “latest gruesome killings” to contact it for consular assistance.

Newsline: Nigerian Embassy In Mexico Shuts Down Over COVID-19

The Nigerian embassy in Mexico has been closed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the embassy. Abimbola Tooki, special adviser on media to Adejare Bello, Nigerian ambassador to Mexico via a statement on Monday said that six staff of the embassy tested positive for COVID-19. The ambassador said that the closure would last till August 15, 2022. He said the affected staff are undergoing treatment and that the situation is under control. (https://bizwatchnigeria.ng/nigerian-embassy-in-mexico-shuts-down-over-covid-19/) Bello disclosed that appropriate quarters like the ministry of foreign affairs, Abuja and that of Mexico have been duly notified of this development. The temporary closure, according to the ambassador, will allow the Embassy to be fumigated and all other precautions put in place while the closure lasts. Bello also said that all home-based officers and the local staff of the mission have been directed to work from home pending further directives.

Newsline: Nigerians in Switzerland complain over alleged corruption at embassy

Nigerian Youth Movement of Switzerland has written a petition letter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand a probe into alleged corrupt practices by officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Bern. The group in a petition signed by its youth leader, Irydaer Omobude, titled: ‘The Nigerian Embassy in Bern is stinking in corruption’ urged the federal government to recall the Ambassador, Baba Madugu and Mrs. Kemi Amuda back to Nigeria with immediate effect. Petition reads: “The embassy in Bern under Ambassador Baba Madugu uses the swiss police to intimidate, threaten, coarse, and violently remove Nigerians on appointment at the embassy whenever they request for passport or other services which they paid for” “The Nigerian embassy in Bern receives a monthly salary for a security officer that is never employed who then receives this monthly salary” “Many contracts and purchases are highly inflated with the active participation of third parties.” (https://guardian.ng/news/nigerians-in-switzerland-petition-efcc-sgf-ministry-over-alleged-corruption-in-embassy/) The group noted that it had notified the Nigerian embassy in Bern of these acts in a letter dated 24 January 2020 but regretted that till date, the embassy has not replied to the letter. Instead, decided to introduce a closed-door policy against the community, calling the Swiss police at random to harass Nigerians from coming to the embassy.

Newsline: The diplomats without an embassy

Officially, the dream of an independent Biafra ended in 1970, when the Nigerian Civil War came to an end after the breakaway state in southeastern Nigeria was defeated by the federal government. However, according to the United States government, Biafra still exists, at least in certain filings at the department of justice. In the alphabetically ordered filings maintained under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (Fara), Biafra sits right in between Bermuda and Bolivia. But although Bermuda is recognised as a British Overseas Territory and Bolivia maintains an official embassy, Biafra is not officially recognised as an independent country in the United States, or anywhere. But all states — whether they’re widely recognised or not — as well as foreign political parties and other entities, must publicly file their contracts with US firms when those firms are hired to engage in work related to public policy or public opinion. (https://mg.co.za/africa/2020-08-22-the-diplomats-without-an-embassy/) The Biafra filing contains a contract between a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), and the US firm Mercury Public Affairs, although Ipob is not the only non-state, or quasi-state actor in the filings. Joining Ipob are the Coordination of Movements of the Azawad (CMA), an alliance of Tuareg rebels in Mali; and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, in Western Sahara. Both have hired Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit diplomatic advisory group. The challenges they face are serious and long-standing issues, ranging from independence to the implementation of peace accords. Under the Fara filings for Mali, the CMA is listed alongside — although separately — from the Malian government. The group, a coalition of rebels from the 2012 Tuareg uprising, differs from the various Biafran movements in that it actually holds governing and military power, rather than being an independence movement.

Newsline: Ghana apologises to Nigeria for embassy demolition

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has apologised to Nigeria after a building inside the Nigerian High Commission compound in Accra was demolished. Mr Akufo-Addo has ordered an investigation, a statement from the Nigerian government said after his call with President Muhammadu Buhari. Armed men reportedly stormed the compound last week and destroyed buildings under construction. Two people have been arrested over the incident. They have been charged with Unlawful Entry And Causing Unlawful Damage. A businessman who had previously claimed that he owned the land where the building was being put up had led the demolition operation, according to an article posted on the Nigerian High Commission website in Ghana. “The man showed up last week with some papers to support his claim and began to knock down the fence surrounding the building,” the article quotes a source at the ministry of foreign affairs as saying. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53148609) Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said a bulldozer was used during the 19 June incident which destroyed two residential buildings. He called the demolition “outrageous and criminal” and urged Ghanaian authorities to protect Nigeria’s diplomatic buildings.

Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Nigeria is dead

The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja this afternoon announced the passing away Ambassador Adnan Mahmoud Bostaji. The embassy did not give any reason for the envoy’s passing. Before his appointment as a Saudi ambassador to Nigeria, Bostaji served as deputy to the ambassador at the Saudi Embassy in Berlin in 2016 (https://guardian.ng/news/saudi-ambassador-to-nigeria-is-dead/) He started his career by joining the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, he was appointed deputy to the ambassador at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran from 1991 until 1998. In 2000, he was appointed as chargé d’affaires at the Saudi Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, until 2003. He then worked as head of economic affairs and international organizations at the Saudi Embassy in London from 2003 until 2005.

Newsline: South Africa closes embassy in Nigeria after xenophobic violence

South Africa has temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria following reprisal attacks by Nigerians triggered by xenophobic violence in South Africa. Between Sunday and Wednesday, mobs looted and destroyed shops, many of them foreign-owned, in South Africa’s commercial hub, Johannesburg. Nigeria’s government has been outspoken in its condemnation of the violence. South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, called the violence an embarrassment for her country. “Our government regrets all violence against foreign-owned stores or Africans from other countries who are resident in South Africa,” she was quoted as saying by national broadcaster SABC. She ordered the closure of the country’s high commission in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and its mission in Lagos, following threats made to the diplomatic staff. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-49593030) Police say the unrest has subsided and more than 420 arrests have been made.