Opinion: Xenophobia: Niger Republic Too Is Guilty, By Suleiman Uba Gaya
For the first time in the life of most Nigerians, they now know they have a country that can protect them.
The relationship between Niger Republic and Nigeria dates back through the ages. In Nigeria, especially the northern plank, inter-marriages between nationals of the two nations are common place. Except for a few instances, administrations before the current one of Issoufou have played their part very responsibly, so much that the nationals of the two countries see themselves as one and the same. The level of integration was that deep.
God so kind, the Nigerian media has always come to the aid of anyone that is cheated. On January 11, for example, one of the most respected newspapers in Nigeria,
newspaper did the same. And a day later, another influential newspaper,
“Recent reports in the media indicating that authorities in Nigeria’s neighbour, Niger, are shortchanging Nigerians doing business in its shores are, to say the least, disturbing.
“No sooner had it accomplished that major task than the administration of Mahamadou Issoufou suddenly, and without prior notice, revoked the contract and awarded it to another company.
“Thus far, all entreaties on the part of the ministers of justice and foreign affairs of Nigeria since last year have fallen on deaf ears. At one time around July last year, even President Muhammad’s Buhari personally intervened and appealed to his Nigerien counterpart, but to no avail.
The Editorial went on to call on the authorities in Nigeria to rise to the occasion and do everything to defend the interest of Nigerians earning their livelihood in any country, and concluded as follows:
Nigeria’s ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs have written countless letters asking Niger Republic to play its part by paying compensation to Architeam, but hardly does Niger Republic under Issoufou respond to letters from Nigeria. Where they do so, it is to deceive Nigeria into believing they are taking action on the matter raised.
Several such meetings have either held or been postponed by Niger on very flimsy grounds. The administration deploys delay tactics to buy time, and to make the authorities in Nigeria get tired and hand off the matter, clearly because it is an unethical player who has nothing with which to defend itself. And it does not have the decency to admit where it is wrong and simply pay off the agreed compensation and as well treat other business people fairly.
The Buhari administration will equally do well to investigate widespread allegations that the Niger border is being used by bandits to smuggle arms and ammunition from Libya and other places, with which kidnapoing and other crimes are perpetrated in Nigeria, thereby giving the Buhari administration a bad name. Even local newspapers in Niger have been writing about arms trafficking and money laundering, with some officials of that country being fingered. The country has also opened up its shores to all manner of foreign military bases, in a manner that suggests a direct threat to Nigeria.
As for Niger Republic, there are several of such cases that cry for the government’s quick intervention.
Suleiman Uba Gaya is the Vice President (North) of the Nigerian Guild of Editors.Read more: Premium Times
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