Fate Of 30,000 Nigerians In Crisis Ridden CAR

That the Central African Republic is crisis ridden is no longer news and that about 30,000 Nigerians are stranded in the country is also not news. On December 18 the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Ukeje announced the Federal Government plans to evacuate stranded Nigerians in the country. And that about 2000 of this number are already taking refuge in the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui.

Not much has been done or achieved after this announcement. And it is a known fact that the country is still boiling with cases of rape and killings reported daily. This is not the first time Nigerians will be trapped in war torn countries with thousands dying in the end as help from the Federal Government is always slow and most times not even available. When Liberia was torn apart in civil war and then leader Samuel Doe was freely killing the rebels with Nigerians as special targets, it took months to rescue stranded Nigerians back to their country with hundreds slaughtered by Doe’s men despite efforts of ECOMOG forces who were also targets.

When Angola faced a similar situation few years back, Nigerians were trapped in the country and hundreds died. Half of those caught in the crossfire were reported to be Nigerians who would have been rescued if help came on time.

Nigerians are virtually in all the countries around the world irrespective of their number or percentage and that means the country is always affected by any natural disaster and exposed to unforeseen circumstances or danger as created by the CAR situation. This again implies that the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and other relevant agencies must at all times be ready to save or rescue Nigerians who are victims of such situations as in CAR.

The respond and attitude of government towards the CAR situation is to say the least slow. Sadly it is a tradition which keeps cropping up each time situations like this arises. Government must change its attitude and understand that it is primary responsibility to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians not only at home but to also show high level of concern and commitment for those who are victims of oppression or disaster abroad. It is most unfortunate that Nigerians have been victims of different kind of oppression overseas yet not much is done to call the government or countries where they are based to order.

In 2010 six Nigerians were sentenced to death by Chinese government and reports say they were roped into drug cases. Nothing was done. Just last year, no fewer than six Nigerian students were killed in Europe, the most notable among them is the duo Laolu Oresanya Theresa a third year student of Electrical Engineering at Donetsk National Technical University and one Obede Ogbu also an undergraduate who both died in suspicious circumstances in Ukraine. Nothing has been done to unravel the mysteries behind their death.  It is time Nigerian government brought this ugly development under control perhaps by stepping into the case of the stranded Nigerians in crisis ridden CAR.

About Desmond Ekwueme

desmond.ekwueme@nationalweekender.net

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