Ex- Militants on scholarship lead Protests; Arrests made at Nigerian Mission In Russia


Students on the federal government scholarship at a university in Russia recently went on the rampage at the Nigerian embassy in Moscow, attacking officials and the mission building over unpaid in-training allowance. In a reaction, the Nigerian diplomats called in the Russian police who promptly invaded the embassy and arrested 16 of the riotous students. 
The special adviser to the president on the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, has since debunked the students’ claim. Kuku also announced that six students of Niger Delta origin who allegedly led the riot had lost their scholarships: the federal government cancelled them. 
 Violent protest as allegedly launched against the Nigerian mission in Russia is condemnable under any guise. But so is the premise upon which the students hinged their contemptible conduct – failure of government to provide upkeep allowance for its scholars in foreign lands, which might not be unconnected with systemic corruption as alleged by the students concerned.
 However, the invitation Nigerian officials sent to Russian security agencies to come into the embassy and arrest the unruly students was unnecessary. It is an obvious violation of a cardinal rule in diplomacy: that any nation’s embassy anywhere in the world is an extension of its geographical territory and hence inviolable. How this basic diplomatic norm became lost to the Nigerian embassy officials because of a protest by a handful of students beats the imagination. 
Are the ambassador and his officials unaware of this rule? Given that the disorderly students were effectively on the Nigerian soil at the embassy, why did the mission officials call in a foreign power to take Nigerians away from their own country, as it were, to detention dungeons in another land? Do these embassy officials understand the import of their action? Are there no security measures on ground in the Nigerian mission in Russia put up by our own government to handle a mere student protest without calling for outside help? Is the Nigerian mission in Russia and others across the world so defenceless and porous as not to be able to keep ordinary students protesting over stipends at bay? What if some despicable elements got it into their heads to seize a Nigerian mission abroad for some sinister terror plot against the rest of mankind?

 Clearly, the incident at the Nigerian embassy in Russia has exposed the underbelly of our diplomatic service in a most embarrassing way.  A serious government would launch a probe into that obvious violation of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and its citizens’ rights on its own soil, all orchestrated by embassy officials in a knee-jerk reaction to a students’ protest. Does the federal government have any belly for this necessary course of action in this matter?


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