Human Rights Lawyer Drags Nigerian Embassy To US Congress
Submits Threat Memo To US Government for Investigation as Criminal and Undiplomatic Conduct
Last week, the letter below was submitted to the US authorities.
My testimony referenced therein before the US congress can be found here.
This is the testimony referred to in the Secret Nigerian embassy memo as “trash talking” in the “chambers of the US congress”:
HON REP CHRIS SMITH
CHAIRMAN CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMITTEE ON GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS
Dear Chairman Smith,
MALICIOUS RETALIATION BY NIGERIAN EMBASSY USA FOR MY TESTIMONY BEFORE YOUR COMMITTEE
I wish to report to your subcommittee an campaign to retaliate against me – a perceived “critic”–by a foreign government with a terrible human rights record which I particularly drew attention to in my last congressional testimony In particular, I pointed out the massacre of hundreds of Shiites by the Nigerian army as well as government inaction and attempted cover up on the killings of hundreds of farmers in Agatu by Fulani Muslim herdsmen, incidentally, from president Buhari’s tribe.
One of the victims of terror whom I brought to school here in the US and who goes by the pseudonym “Saa” for her safety testified alongside me at the hearing on “The U.S. Role in Helping Nigeria Confront Boko Haram and Other Threats in Northern Nigeria” at the Congressional Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. A Lt. Col. was among the Nigerian intelligence operatives from the embassy spotted taking photos of Chairman Chris Smith, former congressman Frank Wolf, myself and Saausing a cellphone camera in 2255 Rayburn House Office Building on May 11, 2016.
Below is a statement by the Nigerian government soon after we testified before your subcommittee:
“The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development yesterday said it had alerted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene and stop one Emmanuel Ogebe, a US-based Nigerian human rights activist, from parading across the US with the escapee Chibok girls studying abroad.”
It is clear from the above that the congressional hearing which was monitored by intelligence agents of the Nigerian government, prompted this dramatic effort to silence and stifle our advocacy on this issue. In fact the Nigerian government makes no pretense that it takes exception to what it calls the girls being “paraded” in the US – an obvious reference to the public appearance on the hill and that it specifically wants to “stop” the “human rights activist”!
This would have a chilling effect on human rights advocates in the US such as myself and on the effectiveness of the work of congress if a foreign government can target perceived dissidents or critics even in Washington for exercising their fundamental, constitutional and human rights and civic responsibility to speak.
Recently, my legal action for defamation against the Nigerian government resulted in the discovery by my attorneys of a secret memo proving my report to you two years ago that I was being elaborately and deliberately targeted by the Nigerian embassy for my advocacy.
The letter below admits that the Nigerian embassy in Washington at the highest levels authorized my punishment and silencing for/from speaking in “Congress,” specifically, ”Mr. Ogebe derives pleasure from trash-talking Nigeria on social media, in the Chambers of the United States Congress and other public places across the United States.”
More worrisome, the Charge d’ affaires (Acting Ambassador) of Nigeria Hakeem Balogun made the following chilling request, “Going forward, to prevent Mr. Ogebe, who is a Nigerian citizen, from making further derogatory comments that are inimical to the image of Nigeria, Government may consider taking punitive action against him, including withdrawal of his privilege to carry a Nigerian passport.”
As you know this is a criminal offense and is conduct incongruent with their diplomatic status.
18 USC 1505 provides in pertinent part that, “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede . . . the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress— Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.”
I humbly request your urgent intervention to protect me from a witch-hunt by the embassy and government of Nigeria. I urge you to refer this matter to US law enforcement for investigation to ensure the safety of myself and my family. In view of the recent assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a consular visit simply for speaking out, I cannot afford to take these threats lightly.
Attached: Secret memo of Nigerian government retaliation
CC: Members Foreign Affairs Committee, US Speaker and House Officials, Reps Wilson and Sheila Jackson Lee