NiDCOM boss Dabiri-Erewa under fire over negative profiling of Diaspora Nigerians

CHAIRPERSON and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa has come under fire for portraying Diaspora Nigerians in a bad light.

The criticism directed at Dabiri-Erewa is coming against the backdrop of fracas that ensued between Nigerians and Indians, after a football match involving African and Indian students, on Saturday.

The incident left more than 80 Nigerian students of the GD Goenka University in Gurgaon, India, injured.

Reacting to the incident, the NiDCOM boss assured that the situation had been brought under control by the Nigerian mission, adding that representatives of the Indian government had committed to guaranteeing the safety of the students,

“This happened Saturday, as a result of a fracas, during a football match between African and Indian Students. The Nigerian mission immediately took custody of 86 Nigerian students, invited the representatives of the Indian government, got their commitment to ensuring the safety of the students who have reportedly fled the school after an altercation with their Indian counterparts,” she said in a tweet on Monday.

A Twitter user @sensegiver1, called her mumu, which means fool in Nigerian parlance and urged her to visit Indonesia to see how poorly Nigerians were being treated, accusing her of performing eye-service.

Dabiri-Erewa blurted back: “Ode! You go to Indonesia, carry drugs, do cultism and come begging to be rescued from death sentence. Thank God for @ndlea_nigeria now saving people like you from death row”.

Many Nigerians have now condemned her outburst and criticised her for negatively profiling Nigerians in the Diaspora as cultists and drug peddlers.

“Dear Abike @abikedabiri, What is this? 🤦🏾‍♀️. Kai. This is messy. Please clean it up. Quickly. Please,” a former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili commented.

However, the NiDOCM boss remained defiant, questioning: “Is it okay for some untrained, uncouth guy to refer to me as “mumu”, and I can’t call him “ode”? I’m not a public official that cows to bullying pls.”

Background

In a video posted on Twitter by Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University, Sweden, some Indian students were seen approaching some persons with rods and stones in a menacing way.

According to Times of India (TOI), a Nigerian student identified as Khaleel said trouble broke out when both Nigerian and Indian students were grouped into one team for a football match.

“Our captain spoke with the sports officer and laid down his objections against a ‘mixed team’. The officer decided to call off the match. Despite that, a few Indian students entered the field and before anyone could realise a thing, someone hit our captain on the head with an iron rod,” the student was quoted as saying.

“Outsiders, who had come on bikes, also joined them and there was a clash. However, the matter was resolved that day itself.”

According to Khaleel, a group of Indian students attacked the hostel the next day (Saturday), adding that “they hurled abuses and threatened us with dire consequences”.

TOI further reported that an Indian student, identified as Sultan Khan, refuted the claim that the attacks were perpetrated by locals.




    According to Khan, he was taking a walk in the school’s premises on Saturday when about five Nigerians attacked him.

    “They kept raining blows on me. My friends came to my rescue but they were thrashed with sticks and rods too,” he said. According to TOI, both sides have since filed complaints at the Sohna City police station.

    The development comes about a month after Indian students reportedly protested against their Nigerian colleagues who were performing Islamic prayers at the soccer field.

    The Indian students, predominantly Hindus, were said to have complained to the institution’s management, insisting that Muslim students limit their prayers to hostel rooms.

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