Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye is dead. He died on Thursday after suffering a seizure
while being driven by his chauffeur in Washington D.C., the U.S. capital.
A former professor of History, Prof. Adefuye has been Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S since March 2010. Elombah.com learnt he died before he could get to the hospital.
Adefuye, among several other Nigerian envoys, had been recalled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month. He was expected to handover to the Consular General this month, pending the appointment of a new ambassador.
One of his last major assignments was to receive President Muhammadu Buhari and his delegation during the president’s three-day official visit to the U.S. last month.
Embassy officials, who confirmed his demise, said a send off reception was planned for him next Wednesday, but this will now be turned to a memorial service.
In July 2013, Transform Nigeria Citizen Initiative, led by Daniel Elombah, and publisher of Elombah.com wrote a petition to the Senate over alleged misappropriation of funds by the officials of the Nigerian embassy in Washington D.C.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs summoned Adefuye; Gbenga Ashiru, minister of foreign affairs; Joy Ogwu, professor and Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, UN; and George Obiozor, former ambassador to the US.
The Senate two years ago began investigating the alleged disappearance of $27 million from the sale of Nigerian property in New York. Two former Nigeria ambassadors and the incumbent appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Adefuye, while refuting claims that the embassy under his watch squandered $27 million, disclosed that he only met $10 million in the account when he assumed office as ambassador in 2010. While explaining why part of the money was spent, the ambassador added that embassy operations in Washington D.C were poorly funded, as it was only receiving about $200,000 of its monthly entitlement of $600,000.
Born in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, circa 1947, Adefuye received his first degree in History at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1969, and in 1973 earned a Ph.D. in History there, with a dissertation on “The Political History of the Palwo, 1400-1911.”
As a Fulbright scholar he studied at Columbia University, the University of North Florida and the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Adefuye started his academic career as a lecturer at the University of Lagos, where he rose to the position of professor, published books and articles, and served as Head of the History Department from 1985 to 1987.
Among the books he has written are “History of the Peoples of Lagos State” (1987) and “Culture and Foreign Policy: The Nigerian Example” (1993).
He received his first diplomatic posting as High Commissioner to Jamaica, with concurrent accreditation to Haiti and Belize, a job he kept from 1987 to 1991.
From 1991 to 1994, he served as Deputy High Commissioner at the Nigerian Embassy in London, U.K., from where he was hired by the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth of Nations) as Deputy Director of Strategic Planning.
After fourteen years with the Commonwealth, Adefuye took a job with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), where he served as an Advisor for two years, from 2008 to 2010.
As U.S. ambassador, Adefuye helped to persuade the U.S. to remove Nigeria from its “country of interest” terrorism watch list. Nigeria was placed on the list following the December 25, 2009 failed attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight headed from Amsterdam to Detroit.
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