Assault: Foreign relations experts tell Indonesian ambassador to leave Nigeria

Assault: Foreign relations experts tell Indonesian ambassador to leave Nigeria
Dr Usra Harahap

The Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria has asked the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Usra Harahap, to return to Jakarta, following the assault on a Nigerian diplomat, Mr Mohammed Buba, by Indonesian immigration officials.

WuzupNigeria reported that Buba was seen in a viral video being strangulated and pinned down by Indonesian officials in a moving car as he shouted, "I can't breath" during the assault.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, subsequently summoned the Indonesian envoy on Monday, and also recalled the Nigerian ambassador to the Asian country.

Reacting to the incident, the group advised the Nigerian government to declare all Indonesian embassy staff in Nigeria persona non grata "until satisfactory explanation and necessary restitutive steps are taken by Indonesian authorities to assuage frayed nerves."

Persona non grata described – In diplomacy, a persona non grata is a status sometimes applied by a host country to foreign diplomats to remove their protection by diplomatic immunity from arrest and other normal kinds of prosecution. 

According to the association made up of serving and retired ambassadors, the Nigerian government did well to recall the Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia, Usman Ogah.

In a statement on Wednesday titled, 'Undiplomatic and uncivilized treatment of a Nigerian diplomat in Indonesia,' AFRPN President, Amb Gani Lawal, the group described the incident as undiplomatic and uncivilized.

The PUNCH quoted Lawal as stating that the assault on Buba was a violation of Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961.

What the Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria said

The statement read, "The association recommends the immediate disengagement of all the Indonesian immigration officers involved in such uncivilized manner to desecrate the age-long tradition of inviolability of diplomatic agent and their family and property as provided by Article 29 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations ( 1961) which states that; "Diplomats must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. They are immune from civil or criminal prosecution"

"The AFRPN commends the immediate step taken by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs in summoning the Indonesian ambassador before receiving the full report from its embassy as a first step in the series of reactions reserved for such heinous diplomatic blunder."

"Equally commendable is the subsequent step taken by MFA after receiving the mission's report by inviting home the Nigerian ambassador for consultation while expecting the Indonesian ambassador to toe the diplomatic avenue by equally returning to Jakarta until satisfactory explanation and necessary restitutive steps are taken by Indonesian authorities to assuage frayed nerves."

While the ministry is still reviewing the state of our bilateral relations with Indonesia, the AFRPN said it was awaiting a robust reaction "to serve as a deterrent to a future occurrence of such treatment to any of our diplomats and embassy home-based staffs and indeed any Nigerian citizen from anywhere across the globe."

The AFRPN strongly recommended that the family of the concerned diplomat must be adequately compensated materially and health-wise for the traumatic treatment meted to them while public apology satisfactory to the Nigerian people and government must be tendered and an assurance against repeat occurrence must be given.

The AFRPN also noted "the position of the house committee on diplomatic relations to move to invoke Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to declare everyone at the Indonesian Embassy in Abuja persona non grata, if their nation's authorities failed to effectively explain their actions against the Nigerian diplomatic agent."

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