- Category: Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye Esq.
- Published on Friday, 22 June 2012 00:08
- Written by Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire
Many Nigerians in America and elsewhere have watched with a growing sense of alarm the continued decline in the people’s confidence in the Government of Nigeria. Trust in the Government has steadily eroded as the Government struggles to address a few public concerns, out of which the following four areas seem to stand out
as the most critical for us, the Nigerian Diaspora:
EPHRAIM EMEKA UGWUONYE, ESQUIRE
310 Watkins Pond Blvd.
Rockville, MD 20850
June 21, 2012
AMBASSADOR ADEBOWALE ADEFUYE
Head of Mission and Ambassador Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Court, NW.
Washington, DC 20008
INVITATION TO A DIASPORA DEBATE
Many Nigerians in America and elsewhere have watched with a growing sense of alarm the continued decline in the people’s confidence in the Government of Nigeria. Trust in the Government has steadily eroded as the Government struggles to address a few public concerns, out of which the following four areas seem to stand out as the most critical for us, the Nigerian Diaspora:
(a)The state of security and public safety in Nigeria today;
(b)The alarming levels of public corruption;
(c)The crisis of confidence in the Embassy over the rumors about some banking problems and possible investigations into these Embassy banking activities; and
(d)The lingering problems and complaints by Nigerians in regard to poor consular services at the Embassy in Washington and the consulates in the United States.
Mr. Ambassador, I am confident that you would agree that our peoples in America deserve to know from a person in your position the true stand of the Nigerian Government on these issues. It is true that the Government has, through its officials, issued some statements and made some gestures at trying to explain what is going on in Nigeria. But so far, those gestures and statements have not truly been responsive to concerns of the Diaspora. In particular, those statements or attempts at explanation have not been done in an open and transparent manner that could amount to a true engagement between the Nigerian peoples in the Diaspora and the Government representatives in the United States. For instance, only yesterday, Your Excellency attempted to offer an explanation for the much talked-about banking crisis the Embassy has been reported to be going through. But unfortunately, Sir, your explanation created more confusion over the matter than it could shed any light.
It is clear that the deficiencies in the manner of communication from the Embassy to the Nigerian public in America have led to the awkward situation where even the Ambassador seems suspicious of Nigerians in America. This point was too evident in your remark yesterday that certain Nigerians in America were spearheading a “malicious campaign to malign the integrity of the leadership of the Nigerian Foreign Mission to the United States”. Also, only two days ago, apparently on your instructions, Nigerian Consulate officials in New York ensnared a Nigerian online journalist, lured him into the office of the Head of Chancery and called the NYPD and attempted to instruct the New York Police to arrest the journalist “for harassing [the Consulate officials]”. If it were not that the police of this country are, unlike their Nigerian counterparts, disciplined and well trained, that journalist would still be in police detention now. And that would be because the Ambassador considered the journalist a nuisance for videotaping the Consulate from across the street.
Your Excellency, there is no doubt that such a perception of Nigerians in America is antithetical to the kind of relationship that should exist between the Embassy and Nigerian peoples in America. I have consulted widely on this matter and many Nigerians in America would want a transparent opportunity for the Ambassador to speak to the people and air his views openly. Many believe with me that a public debate between the Ambassador and a person in my position, as a critic of Nigerian Government policies, would be such an excellent opportunity for open debate.
I am therefore humbly and most respectfully inviting Your Excellency to a debate at such a place and location in the United States as Your Excellency would agree to. Nigerian-American public should be invited to witness the debate and to be able to ask questions on the subject of the debate. Of course, I would consider it prudent for us to exclude the subject matter of the ongoing litigation between the Embassy and my law firm from the topics of the debate. Rather, we should focus the debate on the topics listed above. Though Your Excellency is a highly knowledgeable man as well as the top representative of Nigerian Government in the United States, Your Excellency is free to designate someone else to speak on his behalf during the debate.
I therefore look forward to you agreeing to this debate and I expect to hear from you as to how you would want the details. It is with utmost respect and anticipatory gratitude that I expect to hear from you soon.
Thank you kindly.
Ephraim Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire