By Gbenga Odunsi, Lagos
Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s foreign minister, has been accused of treason and sabotaging Nigerians in the diaspora by a former Ambassador to Namibia, Lilian Onoh — in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former Ambassador accused Onyeama of treason and sabotage, a serious accusation that must be investigated, especially because the Ambassador didn’t write anonymously but also gave evidence of Onyeama’s actions which she experienced while representing Nigeria in Namibia.
The petition, as seen by Information Nigeria, cited many occasions that Onyeama actually colluded with foreign authorities to oppress and mistreat Nigerians in diaspora, including the rounding up of Nigerians and Africans in China during the early days of Covid-19, when Onyeama gave the Chinese government’s viewpoint to justify the detention of Nigerians and Africans in China.
The former Ambassador to Namibia also alleged that Onyeama sabotaged her efforts to protect Nigerians in Namibia from xenophobic Namibian security agencies and even colluded with the Namibian foreign secretary to ensure that Nigerians in Namibia were rounded up and deported without reason.
In a damning indictment, Onoh alleged that Onyeama sent his own accountant to Namibia to loot the Embassy’s coffers on his behalf, and went far as to protect a Namibian lady known as Miss Signorita who stole thousands of Dollars from the Embassy because the lady may have been stealing on his behalf.
The former Ambassador also alleged that Onyeama regularly sabotaged efforts by diplomats to protect Nigerians in the diaspora. She alleged that the demolition of the Embassy’s property in Ghana was because of this pattern of behaviour from Onyeama.
She further alleged that the consulate in Atlanta was defrauding Nigerians with his protection and gave evidence of Onyeama’s press releases in defence of the consulate and the crooked Nigerian business centre in Atlanta.
This may not come as a surprise to Nigerians in the diaspora who regularly complain that the embassies don’t protect their interests when they have problems with foreign countries.
But, in this case, an Ambassador trying to protect Nigerians alleged that her own foreign secretary actually colluded with foreigners to abuse Nigerians and even attacked the Ambassador trying to protect Nigerians.
A staff of the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, explained that the petition is responsible for Onyeama’s response to the Indonesian brouhaha, adding that the minister wanted to bury the incident without further action until his advisers reminded him of the petition.
However, after the media circus, Onyeama is alleged to have colluded with the Indonesians and they backtracked from the initial apology and began to accuse the Nigerian victim of attacking them first. No further action other than the media coverage has taken place.
Onyeama is alleged to have paid heavily for favourable media coverage on his handling of the Indonesian incident and hired several columnists to promote his handling of this matter, but according to high ranking diplomats in the system, Onyeama will not do anything else.
Since the petition was sent to President Buhari in June, the President is rumoured to be shopping around for Onyeama’s replacement from APC party faithful in Enugu State, but Onyeama is fighting back by destabilising the party in his state to distract the President from choosing his replacement without being accused of favouring one faction than others.
There are speculations that the former Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, also a lawyer, may replace Onyeama after the forthcoming United Nations general assembly, according to a well-placed source inside APC.
The petition was written by Ambassador Onoh, the daughter of the late Governor of Enugu State, Chief C C Onoh, himself a well-known anti-corruption crusader and is sequel to an Open Letter on Corruption in the Ministry of foreign affairs that exposed widespread looting of funds which Onyeama is alleged to be part of.
With only a year and nine months before President Buhari’s exit, Nigerians, Africans, and the world seem to have accepted that President Buhari’s war against corruption is hogwash from the beginning and the most likely outcome of these very serious allegations of treason again Onyeama will amount to nothing. That is why Nigerians in the diaspora will continue to be treated like garbage by foreign countries.
Efforts to get reactions from the Onyeama was frustrated by security operatives barred Information Nigeria reporter from gaining access to the Foreign Affairs Ministry at Federal Secretariat, Central Business District, in Abuja.
See petition below: