August 2, 2022

Emmanuel Onwubiko: Nigerians are distinctively endangered

After a careful reading of a lot of articles on the foreign policy direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, one common thematic characteristic that holds most of them together is the assumption that the several foreign trips or globetrotting of President Muhammadu Buhari is a demonstration that his template on foreign relations is on the need to win international partnership for waging the war on terror within Nigeria.

Another issue raised that is almost laughable is the visits to Nigeria by some notable World’s political leaders such as the former leader of Germany, the French President Emmanuel Macron and many other African leaders which these friendly but untruthful writers said that these visits to Nigeria show that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not done badly in the area of foreign relations.

However, if the National interest of Nigeria is to dominate the framing and implementation of the foreign policy of any Government in Nigeria, then we need to do a much more broader assessment of the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians living in foreign jurisdictions. If the life of a Nigerian in Nigeria means nothing and conversely, abroad the life of a Nigerian may indeed means nothing.

In line with the above fact, the key question to ask is what is the response of the Nigerian government in instances where Nigerians suffer horrendous maltreatment and are even killed in those nations where they live especially if those killings are xenophobic and racist.

There is a very fresh case in Italy about a Nigerian disabled man murdered in Broad daylight by an Italian man in an unprovoked and hate filled criminality. The reaction of the Nigerian government is not so different from how it reacted when many Nigerians were killed similarly in series of xenophobic attacks in South Africa and as I write, not one single one of those killers faced justice for their crimes. The Nigerian government simply makes so much empty threats and after a while these cases are overlooked until the next killing happens and then the same vicious circle of deception, deceit and hullabaloo follows and goes round and round with no end in sight.

The information is that the Nigerian Embassy, Rome, Italy, has narrated how a 39-year-old Nigerian, Alika Ogorchukwu, was beaten to death by an Italian man in Civitanova Marche city area of the country.

The incident happened on Friday in Civitanova Marche city, located in the Province of Macerata, Marche Region of Italy.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Nigerian Embassy confirmed the development.
Explaining what transpired, the embassy in a statement described the incident as a ‘brutal murder’, adding that all hands would be on deck to ensure justice prevail in the matter.

The statement read, “The attention of the Embassy has been drawn to the brutal murder of Alika Ogorchukwu. A 39-year-old Nigerian citizen who was beaten to death by an Italian man on Friday 29th July 2022, in Civitanova Marche city, located in the Province of Macerata, Marche Region of Italy.

“The incident occurred on a busy street, in front of shocked onlookers. Some of whom made videos of the attack, with little or no attempt to prevent it.

“His Excellency, Ambassador Mfawa Omini Abam has condemned the gruesome murder and has commiserated with Mrs. Charity Oriachi, wife of the deceased, and the rest of his family.

“His Excellency has directed the provision of immediate consular assistance as appropriate. The Embassy is currently collaborating with relevant Italian authorities to ensure justice is served and to provide succour to the family of the deceased.

Relatedly, the Ambassador Mr. Abam wishes to enjoin members of the Nigerian community in Italy to remain calm and to refrain from taking laws into their hands.

“His Excellency wishes to reassure Nigerians in Italy that citizen diplomacy remained the key thrust of his administration and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all Nigerians in Italy receive timely, efficient, and professional consular services.”

Also, confirming the development in a tweet on Saturday, NIDCOM wrote, “39-year-old Nigerian citizen was beaten to death by an Italian man on Friday 29th July 2022, in Civitanova Marche city, located in the Province of Macerata, Marche Region of Italy.

The killing spree has gone as far as Canada not too long ago as two Nigerians were in an unprovoked attack, were shot dead by a trigger happy murderer.

The identities of the two Nigerian men were revealed as Chibueze Momah (22), and Tosin Awaroshegbe (25), according to Adam Abdul, who claims to be a cousin to one of them.

Abdul wrote, “Eze and Tosin were both diligent workers who served as security guards for many lounges in Vaughan. They were loved and cherished by many in the community.

“Their story was only getting started as they had both recently graduated. Eze was set to make his way into the tech industry and Tosin our beloved engineer.

“Unfortunately, their time was cut short. It is our hope to raise $50,000 for each respective family to help with funeral costs and to reunite their bodies with their families.” In this case of the killings, the Nigerian government may not follow up to ensure that justice is done but there us hope that since Canada is a Western democracy where the judicial institution works, it is hoped that these killings won’t go unpunished but not necessarily because the Nigerian government will meticulously monitor the process because they wouldn’t.

In 2018 after a wave of attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, only just verbally condemned the continuous killings of Nigerians in South Africa, warning that further attacks on Nigerians would no longer be condoned. Few months after this tepid warning, South African blacks carried out another round of xenophobic violence targeting Nigerians and many other black Africans.

The Senate President who is the worst in the history of Nigeria for his slavish affiliation to President Muhammadu Buhari and his inability to maintain the independence of the Legislature Mr Lawan had in 2018 expressed concern that about 118 Nigerians had so far lost their lives in different attacks over the years, out of which 13 were by the South African Police.

A statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mohammed Isa said Mr Lawan made this known when he hosted the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bobby Moroe.

Mr Moroe and his delegation paid the visit to brief the Senate leadership on his government’s investigations to unravel the causes of the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and steps being taken to stop such.

The meeting, according to Mr Lawan, became pertinent considering the incessant attacks on Nigerians residing across cities in South Africa.

He said “We in the parliament must speak and prevent any further killings. These killings must stop.
“This is the era of social media where corpse of a victim may spark violence that may go beyond the control of government

“The South African government must as a matter of urgency do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of Nigerians living there, just as Nigerian government remain committed to the safety of South Africans residing here and their investments.

“I believe we have faced enough, we will no longer take it anymore. We want to write the names of Nigerians killed, and the South African parliament must act fast to put a stop to this menace.

“Over the years, 118 Nigerians have been killed, while 13 out of these were killed by South African Police.”

He also recalled the enormous contributions of Nigeria to South Africa during the apartheid rule.
“We must establish events leading into these killings, including the recent one of Mrs.Elizabeth Chukwu, who was killed in her hotel room,” he said.

While commending the High Commissioner for the updates, Mr Lawan noted that, “the update on the cause of late Mrs. Chukwu’s death is heartwarming. It is a sign that something has been done in this regards.”

Earlier, Mr Moroe expressed regret over the killings of Nigerians in his country.

He extended the country’s condolences to the families of the victims.

He said an inquest had been instituted to investigate all cases of xenophobic attacks in the country.

The inquest, he said would reveal the cause of the menace and find solutions across board.

He reiterated the commitment of South African government and its law enforcement agencies to get to the root of the matter while bringing to book perpetrators of the attacks.

“Our government will continue to be committed to the good relationship with Nigeria.

“Your sentiment has gone deep into our heart, and you will be happy that the same sentiment has been our concern in South Africa.

“On behalf of the government of South Africa, we express our sincere condolences to Nigerian government for this unfortunate incident”, he said.

However, the Federal Government is not known to have taken any diplomatic measures to protest the incessant killings of Nigerians in South Africa but instead the legislators in Abuja saw an opportunity to embark on a very fruitless trip to South Africa in the guise of meeting with the parliament of South Africa, but we all knew that their objective for the trip is to accumulate foreign travelling allowances and estacodes and not to achieve anything tangible.

The killings of Nigerians in South Africa has not abated as this is carried out systematically. This is even as many South African firms are making a kill in Nigeria such as the Multichoice cable television that charges exorbitant fees to millions of Nigerian homes and repatriating millions of dollars yearly back to South Africa and yet black South Africans still kill Nigerians who are doing genuine and legitimate businesses in their Country and generating much less than what South African firms make from Nigeria.

The MTN telecommunications is one of the largest telecom providers in Nigeria that generate billions of dollars yearly that are taken right back into South Africa but these humongous benefits that these South African companies milk away from Nigeria is not enough deterrent to stop these brutal killings of Nigerians in South Africa.

But there is a reason for that. The reason is that, outsiders know and read in the press about how so incompetent the current President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is and its collusion with Islamic terrorists murdering Nigerians in their thousands and so these foreigners in their nations often attacked Nigerians who are distinctively endangered at home by armed non state actors who unleash violence whilst the Nigerian government officials including the President looks on.

These foreigners killing Nigerians assumed that Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is a failed state and so it has no diplomatic strength to stop them from inflicting deaths on Nigerians who live amongst them in those hostile nations.

In the chapter one of a book titled “Failed States, Collapsed States,
Weak States: Causes and Indicators”, the author Mr. ROBERT I. ROTBERG stated the following: “Nation-states fail because they are convulsed by internal violence and can no longer deliver positive political goods to their inhabitants. Their governments lose legitimacy, and the very nature of the particular nation-state itself becomes illegitimate in the eyes and in the hearts of a growing plurality of its citizens.

The rise and fall of nation-states is not new, but in a modern era when national states constitute the building blocks of legitimate world order the violent disintegration and palpable weakness of selected African, Asian, Oceanic, and Latin American states threaten the very foundation of that system. International organizations and big powers consequently find themselves sucked disconcertingly into a maelstrom of anomic internal conflict and messy humanitarian relief.

Desirable international norms such as stability and predictability thus become difficult to achieve when so many of the globe’s newer nation-states waver precariously between weakness and failure, with some truly failing, or even collapsing. In a time of terror, moreover, appreciating the nature of and responding to the dynamics of nation-state failure have become central to critical policy debates.

How best to strengthen weak states and prevent state failure are among the urgent questions of the twenty-first century.”

In the aforementioned book, the author examined contemporary cases of nation-state collapse and failure. Also, the author establishes clear criteria for distinguishing collapse and failure from
generic weakness or apparent distress, and collapse from failure. It further analyzes the nature of state weakness and advances reasons why some weak states succumb to failure, or collapse, and why others in ostensibly more straightened circumstances remain weak and at risk without ever destructing.

According to him, States are much more varied in their capacity and capability than they once were. They are more numerous than they were a half century ago, and the range of their population sizes, physical endowments, wealth, productivity, delivery systems, ambitions, and attainments is much more extensive than ever before.

Nation-states, the author argues, exist to provide a decentralized method of delivering political
(public) goods to persons living within designated parameters (borders). Having replaced the monarchs of old, modern states focus and answer the concerns and demands of citizenries. They organize and channel the interests of their people, often but not exclusively in furtherance of national goals and values.

They buffer or manipulate external forces and influences, champion the local or particular concerns of their adherents, and mediate between the constraints and challenges of the international arena and the dynamism of their own internal economic, political, and social realities, the author stressed.

States he says succeed or fail across all or some of these dimensions. But it is according to their performance—according to the levels of their effective delivery of the most crucial political goods—that strong states may be distinguished from weak ones, and weak states from failed or collapsed states.

The truth is that Nigeria has under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari reached the precipice of failure as a sovereignty because due to internal governmental sabotage and active undermining of the National Security interests of the Country by the top echelons of the Internal security institutions appointed by a very weak, incompetent and inept leader, the possibility to describe Nigeria as a failed state is not farfetched. The clear contradictory posture of the National Assembly to arrest the decline and the rapid drive to the precipice is shocking. Nigerians truly have to speak out to compel the government to either take steps to extinguish the status of Nigerians as being distinctively endangered or we die in silence. The choice is yours dear compatriots.

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.

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