Abidjan- Members of the Association of Nigerian Youths in Cote d’Ivoire on Monday protested in Abidjan demanding the sack of the Nigerian Ambassador, Tuesday Obajuluwa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the youths who were more than 500 were marching close to the Nigerian Embassy in the Plateau area of the country's commercial capital where they encountered the Ivorian Police.
A police officer, Kramo Allebe, who addressed the them, said he had been instructed to prevent them from getting near the embassy.
``You can send a delegation to the embassy, we will not allow all of you to move to the entrance of the embassy,’’ he
NAN reports that police fired teargas to dispel the protesters who were chanting solidarity songs.
Some of the placards read: ``Obajuluwa must go. To hell with the loverboy Ambassador. Where is Abiola Akambi?’’
Others read: ``We have not celebrated Independence Day since Obajuluwa came. Save us from this Ambassador. We are like sheep without shepherd.’’
Some of the youth who spoke with NAN accused the Ambassador of not protecting the interest and rights of Nigerians.
Addressing a news conference, the President of the Nigerian Youth in Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Bright Moses, said the actions of the ambassador did not represent a servant of the people.
``The embassy is meant for Nigerians, but Obajuluwa does not recognise this. He has crippled the Nigerian community and forced leaders on the community.
``When Nigerians are intimidated and harassed, the embassy shows no concern. We wonder the kind of mandate he
has got,’’ he said.
Moses cited the case of a Nigerian, Abiola Akambi who was arrested during the Ivorian political crisis.
``This Nigerian has been in detention for more than two years without a step being taken by the embassy to secure his release or trial,’’ he said.
``The ambassador has failed to fulfill his obligation to Nigerians, and those who asked questions were labeled enemies
of the embassy,’’ he s aid.
Another youth, Frank Ahumaraeze, said that Nigerian youth had lost confidence on the ambassador following what he described as `total failure to effectively carry out his assignment.’
``The Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire is large. We need an ambassador that is pro-active and sensitive to the yearnings of the people.
Speaking with NAN, Obajauluwa said the protesters had `a total misunderstanding of the essence of diplomatic missions.’
He said the expectation of some Nigerians were entirely outside the mandate and power of the embassy.
``They want us to share money, they want us to pay medical bills, and to pay for burials when people die. These are
not the responsibilities of the embassy.
``The embassy has clearly defined mandate and responsibilities which we have continued to carry out since I arrived
here in August 2011,’’ he said.
Obajuluwa said the embassy did not have any provision from the Federal Government to undertake the private responsibilities of Nigerian citizens living in the country.