Ambassador H.T. Balogun unyielding against touts
They want the Embassy to protect their illegalities and excesses
The social and main stream media have been awash with a viral clip in which a group of Nigerians attacked their Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. During the attack, properties were destroyed and the Nigerian flag that hovered above the Embassy was pulled down.

Various reports in the media noted that the aggrieved Nigerians attacked the Embassy to protest against discrimination and targeted raids on some Nigerians by Indonesia immigration officials. One of such raids led to the death of a Nigerian, precipitating the attack.

The Nigerian government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, condemned the attack with a vow that the perpetrators would be identified and punished. The act, he wrote was “absolutely deplorable and disgraceful criminal behaviour by Nigerian hooligans, who without justification, attacked the Nigerian Embassy in Jakarta. Totally unacceptable behaviour. Every effort will be made to identify them and see they are severely punished.”

AfroLife findings indicate that the death of the Nigerian was pretext to launch an attack which had been brewing. According to an officer at the Embassy who wants to remain anonymous, “their (the attackers) problem is with host immigration but they feel the Embassy is not protecting them enough. They want the Embassy to protect their illegalities and excesses.”

Some of the protesters who attacked the Embassy
The findings also reveal that like most Nigerian Embassies around the world, some members of the Nigerian Community in that country have constituted themselves into cartels around the Embassy to tout and extort money from their compatriots. But the source pointed it out to AfroLife that the head of Mission, His Excellency Ambassador Hakeem T. Balogun, would have none of that, insisting that anyone who wants the services of the Embassy must do so in person instead of going through touts. This stand of the Ambassador has pitched the Embassy against these touts. They, according to the source, instigated the attack.

“Some of their community leaders have been instigating them against the Embassy because they are beginning to find it difficult to continue to extort their fellow citizens. They exploit fellow Nigerians by acting as agents in the quest to get official documents from the Embassy.”

The source observed that, “documents whose issuance cost as little as R1.5m, they charge their fellow citizens as much as 25m to 40m and they go out to tell the people it is what the Embassy is charging. The Embassy insists that applicants need not go through any agent to get their documents.”

The Officer debunked the idea that the Embassy was not protecting the interest of the Nigerians in the country against the abuses of the Indonesian immigration authorities, stressing that the Nigerian Mission has been interfacing with the Head of the Indonesian Immigration on matters of immigration as they affect Nigerians. The Embassy, it was learnt, was in the forefront of leading African Missions in the country to complain about the high handedness of Indonesian immigration officials to Africans.

“When officials of the Nigerian Embassy met with the (Indonesian) Chief of immigration, we went accompanied by reasonable members of the Community to see and hear first hand our efforts and deliberation regarding their immigration problems. All these efforts are anathema to some community leaders who are living off the illegal extortion of their fellow citizens,” stated the officer.

“This illegal source of livelihood has been on the wane, and as such the perpetrators are ready to say and do anything against the Embassy and Nigerian government. Some of these individuals are also responsible for pitching host immigration officials against their fellow citizens who they know are ready to pay any amount to continue to stay in Indonesia. The Embassy has been stemming all these wrong doings in the bud,” the officer concluded.