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The Nigerian Community in Cote d’Ivoire has rejected calls for the recall of the Consular Officer

The Nigerian Community in Cote d’Ivoire has rejected calls for the recall of the Nigerian Consular Officer in the country’s capital, Abidjan, Mr Damilola Olufemi Abikoye.

Attacks on Mr Damilola Abikoye, the Nigerian consular officer in Abidjan, in the media have been denounced by the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire. The allegations against Abikoye were unfounded and poorly thought out, the community claimed in a statement signed by its President, Chief Emeka Onwuchelu, and Secretary, Izuchukwu Dike-Ononiwu.

It stated that the publication advocating for the consular officer’s recall due to alleged diplomatic violations should be disregarded because it did not reflect the views of Nigerians living in Cote d’Ivoire or their common interests.

Recall that Mr Lawani Waliou and Mr Akinwale Tajudeen had signed a petition accusing Abikoye of exploiting his position to obstruct the switch to analogue cards for personal gain rather than biometric cards.

They also accused him of stopping their freedom of association and breeding chaos.

“Embassy of Nigeria should be directed to pave the way for harmony, concord and cooperation among Nigerians in Côte d’Ivoire,” it stated.

But the Community leaders, which was duly elected in a process monitored by the Consulate in 2021, contended that the petition was an attack authored by an illegitimate group not known to the Nigerian community in Cote d’Ivoire.

It said there were no looming diplomatic incidents or angry reactions from Nigerians in Côte d’Ivoire as alleged by the petitioners adding that they were experiencing a peaceful and stable stay.

The leadership of the Nigerian community said that Abikoye had used his administrative tact to check the proliferation of renegade groups which had reduced the embarrassment caused by their nefarious activities.

The Embassy of Nigeria in Cote d’Ivoire has always upheld the rights of Nigerians and has never in any way stood in the form of their rights to association and management of their internal affairs.

The Consular Officer, Mr Damilola Olufemi Abikoye is a man of integrity who has been working assiduously and should be commended for his unalloyed cooperation with the current administration of the Nigerian Community.

“The relationship has helped to restore sanity, achieve a more cordial relationship among the citizens and see to their holistic welfare.

“On Consular Identity Card, it is the responsibility of the Nigerian Embassy to dictate the mode of identification for its citizens in Cote d’Ivoire, the decision to change from an analogue to a biometric one lies solely with the Embassy,

“We hereby appeal to the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to disregard this petition against Abikoye and investigate this set of individuals and see that they are called to account for their activities and the embarrassment they cause the country,” it stated.

The allegations against Abikoye include blocking the use of biometric identification for Nigerians living in Cote D’Ivoire, preferring analogue identification, which many said had been used to rip off Nigerians.

We want the Community to know that the mode of identification for citizens of a country was the prerogative of the embassy and the government of a country and not the Consular Officer.