Nigeria protests drug peddling accusations

SHARE   |   Friday, 29 April 2016   |   By Othusitse Tlhobogang
NIGERIAN PRIDE: The flag of Nigeria NIGERIAN PRIDE: The flag of Nigeria

The Nigerian High Commission in Botswana has been angered by what it terms ‘false accusation against Nigerian citizens’. The Ambassador of Nigeria to Botswana, Prince Ademola Oladele, said the accusations levelled at Nigerian community tarnishes the good image of the country and its citizens alike. This comes on the wake of the April 22 incident in Mogoditshane where a foreign national faced deportation after being apprehended by the police, with section of the public claiming that the individual was a Nigerian allegedly dealing in drugs and using an automobile dealership as a front. Ambassador Oladele came out blazing about this, saying it is just a misconception as Nigerians are good people. He, however, did not give a blind eye to some of his countrymen that may have their own agendas. Ambassador Oladele nonetheless said the irrationality of the few should not tarnish the good image of the rest. He insisted that the accusation levelled at Nigerians in Mogoditshane is outrageous and baseless. “We did our own investigations and found out that there was no truth in what was said. No Nigerian was apprehended for dealing drugs in relation to the April 22 case,” said the ambassador. 

On the said date a certain automobile dealership in Mogoditshane disposed of their cars at low prices. Claims went viral that the owner of the dealership was involved in drugs and was given a few days to wind down business before being deported. Some took to social media alleging the owner was a Nigerian. This did not sit well with the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) leadership. NIDO feels Nigerians have been falsely targeted by some people who want to destroy the good image of their country. NIDO chairman Dr Sebastian Udeajah said what transpired were just claims which were without any prove. “The said automobile company had no connection with any Nigerian nor did Nigerians do business with it,” elaborated Udeajah. According to NIDO chairperson, Nigerians are good hard working people and they have taken Botswana as their home and therefore cannot do anything to destroy their home. He lashed out at what he termed ‘rumour mongers who ill-speak about Nigerians trying to destroy their good name’.

Ambassador Oladele called for the rule of law to take course on anyone who acts against the laws of Botswana. He, however, said they are out to set the record straight about their citizens. “We want to correct the mind-sets of some Batswana who believe that Nigerians are criminals,” he explained. The ambassador said Botswana and Nigeria have always enjoyed good bi-lateral relations and this should continue. He said they are just trying to manage the crisis that might come up as a result of malicious claims. Business Botswana CEO, Dichaba Molobe, called on Batswana not to look at foreigners coming to Botswana as enemies but look at them as partners to grow the country’s economy. “There is need for integration into the global village. These people bring the wealth of knowledge and skills needed by this country to grow its economy,” said Molobe. He said it is crucial to promote trade and investment with investors from other country for foreign direct investment.