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Drama at Transcorp Hilton Hotel as Greece envoy, wife label Nigerians thieves

BY SAM EYOBOKA

THE Greece ambassador in  Nigeria,, Mr. Haris Dafaranos and his wife, Haralambo,  at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja,  on Friday evening,  labelled Nigerians thieves.

The couple were at the reception of the luxurious hotel  when the wife found a wrist watch belonging to a  customer of the hotel, Mr. Notore Kolagbodi, who had apparently forgotten it while checking out.

The security personnel on duty at the reception then requested for the wrist watch to be kept for the  owner  but the woman would not entertain any such intervention from the personnel.

Her reason  for refusal, according to an eye witness, was that  Nigerians are habitual  thieves and so she could not  trust the security people to hand it over to the owner.  Even the intervention of the security manager on duty and several  other guests could not persuade the ambassador’s wife to part with the wrist watch.

While the altercation was going on, the owner, Mr. Kolagbodi, returned and wanted to claim his wrist watch but the  ambassador’s wife  stood her ground, saying that the claimant must show her proof of ownership before she could give it to him.

At this stage, an uproar ensued as many exasperated Nigerians who had listened to the exchanges began to express anger at the affront of the woman who continually insisted that Nigerians are thieves. Sources quoted the husband as saying: “Nigerians are thieves. Can  anyone of them deny that fact?  What is the assurance that you guys did not connive to bring this fellow as the rightful owner of the wrist watch?”

There was an  exchange of hot words but eventually the woman was persuaded to hand over the wrist watch to the owner while the Nigerians present wondered why an ambassador and his wife  could be so undiplomatic in their utterances.

Greece and Nigeria  enjoy close ties since Greece’ establishment of diplomatic mission in Nigeria in 1970 though trade between the two countries is imbalanced, with imports from Greece to Nigeria exceeding exports.

Greek-owned tankers have an important role in shipping Nigerian oil and natural gas, its main exports. Recently, a Greek tanker was involved a dispute over crude oil smuggling.

On March 25, 2009,  Dafaranos stated that Greece will continue to explore new areas of co-operation and boost cultural, economic, scientific and technological ties with Nigeria.


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