The Nigeria diaspora commission (NIDCOM) has made clarification on the alleged arrest of Nigerians at the country’s embassy in Switzerland.
In video making the rounds on social media, its alleged that the Nigerian mission in Switzerland invited police to arrest Nigerians who were at the Nigerian Embassy in Switzerland to procure their passports.
Reacting to the video, NIDCOM said no one was arrested by the police at the Nigeria embassy even though the citizens displayed flagrant disregard for COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.
In a statement by its Head, Media and Public Relations Unit, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, in Abuja, NIDCOM said the embassy, in light of COVID-19 pandemic, put in place arrangements and modalities that would make passports and other travel documents processing seamless and smooth.
It, however, disclosed that these arrangements were disregard by Nigerians.
NIDCOM said over 54 Nigerians, without prior appointment, besieged the embassy instead of scheduled 20, thus creating confusion and pandemonium.
Consequently, in order to restore normalcy and calm frayed nerves, the embassy called in the Embassy Protection Unit
“In line with Covid-19 protocols, the Embassy in Bern. Switzerland, is only allowed to attend to 10 applicants, however, the Mission worked out a program that made it possible to attend to a maximum of 20 daily, spacing out the appointments.
” But on this day, 64 Nigerians besieged the Nigerian mission in Bern, It turned out that only 10 of them were on scheduled appointment. So 54 of them had no appointment for that day. That apart, they had not made the mandatory online payment And majority of the applicants came from Italy and Spain. Without any appointment whatsoever. And without any payments made online
“The Embassy only reopened after Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in July and were restricted to attending to a limited number as stipulated by the country’s COVID 19 protocol.
” It is also instructive to note. as stated earlier that majority of the applicants came in from Italy and Spain without a prior appointment and without making the mandatory online payment.While the Nigerian Ambassador to Switzerland, Amb. Baba Madugu was addressing them and appealing to them to respect the Covid-19 rules in place and also follow due process, they barged in through the front door and overcrowded a hall that was meant to receive only 10 people at a time.
“The mission did not call the Police as erroneously stated in the video, but invited the Embassy Protection Unit to bring calm and decorum back to the hall.
” The men of the Embassy protection unit addressed them, looked through the appointment list and advised those not on appointment and those who had not made their payments online to calm down, while they were given phone numbers and email to access, book an appointment and make their online payments
“Those on appointment and those who had made their online payments were attended to, while others were advised to follow the due process, with an assurance that everyone will be attended to.as long as the rules were abided by”
NIDCOM expressed dismay at the actions of the citizens who showed satisfaction at the treatment they received at the embassy, only for them to turn around and post a video that completely painted wrong picture of what transpired.
” The affected Nigerians left the hall peacefully, only to the surprise of Swiss officers of the Embassy protection unit and the mission, some of them recorded a video which definitely misrepresented the true scenario.
“The Covid-19 pandemic which has necessitated the introductions of strict protocols in these unusual times is difficult for everyone and every country.
” We appeal to Nigerians abroad to be good ambassadors of Nigeria wherever they are and obey laws put in place.
” The Nigerian mission in Bern is still attending to Nigerians who follow the process, pay online and book their appointments as stipulated”