Diplomatic incidents happen. Some are innocuous and others, so egregious that nations are ready to go to war. It is all about honour, reciprocity and respecting the rules of the game, as set out in international law and the Vienna Conventions governing Diplomatic and Consular Relations between states.
The 7th August, 2021, incident in which several Indonesian Immigration officials manhandled Mr. Mohammed Buba, an accredited Nigerian diplomat, which went viral, might have been an isolated incident or a case of mistaken identity. It might also have been meant to convey a strong message.
Two factors might have led to the incident. Indonesians routinely manhandle Nigerian citizens, believing many to be scofflaws. Hardly do Nigerian officials come to their aid, even when it is obvious that even those rightly accused of crimes, have rights and are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Now this has happened to someone in officialdom, perhaps the Nigerian government and her agents will pay closer attention to the plight of Nigerian citizens abroad, and particularly those in Indonesia and Thailand. Many Nigerians still languish in prisons in these countries.
It is well that the Indonesians have apologized. They have also undertaken to launch a formal investigation into the incident. That is as it should be. That is part of the game and the correct response. The apology should obviate any consequential reprisal.
Nonetheless, and more importantly, the incident is a stark reminder that Nigeria’s global influence is no longer what it once was. Hopefully Indonesians got that into our minds. It is up to Nigeria to remedy her waning clout. This incident is a prompter.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.