Vanguard News

Re: Death in the Mediterranean sea – Rose Moses

Reading through your article in Vanguard of Saturday November 25, 2017 titled: “Death in the Mediterranean Sea” by Rose Moses? shows that the writer was obviously ignorant or deliberately mischievous in the submission.

To start with, the name of the writer Rose Moses(?) strikes me as anonymous, but will reply all the same.

In the write-up, the said Rose Moses contradicted herself all through the submission.

File: In this image released by the US Navy, migrants are gathered on the deck of a Malta Armed Forced ship as they depart the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio on October 17, 2013. The San Antonio rescued 128 men adrift from an inflatable raft that was threatening to capsize in rough seas in the Mediterraneanan on October 16 after responding to a call by the Maltese Government. “AFP PHOTO

You were angry that there was no government response and yet you in the same breath blamed Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, accompanied by Director Legal, NAPTIP, Mr Abdurahim Shuaibu for informing the public at a joint Press Conference on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

And with valid information that the burial took place 9 days earlier than officially scheduled,you expect the SSA not to present that information to the discerning public?

This followed an outcry that there was no government presence at the burial in Italy.

So you expected total silence?

The SSA also informed that three have been identified as Nigerians but nonetheless, in her words,” they are Africans, they are our daughters and everything must be done to stop human trafficking.”

And by the way, NAPTIP is the agency in charge of human trafficking.

Secondly, the Italian Embassy you mentioned as non-responsive and not in communication with Nigerian government had responded to the letter written to them and apologised for the mix up. The Envoy reiterated determination for both countries to continue to work together to stop the dangerous trend of human trafficking.

It must be pointed out here that Dabiri-Erewa’s office receives tons of letters on daily basis on issues affecting the Nigerians in the diaspora because of her accessibility through a dedicated e-mail: ssa@diaspora.gov.ng as well as a website and a phone contact for collation of issues which are being tackled frontally by relating with appropriate ministries, departments and agencies to solve.

On  whether the Embassy in Rome was in contact or not, it is for the Ambassador and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to answer. The SSA does not dabble into issues of foreign policy, but intervenes and advises as it affects issues relating to Nigerians abroad.

It would have been irresponsible not to respond to various bombardment on the social media as to the lack of presence of any one from the Nigerian government.

But the question is how can there be representation when the date suddenly changed with no prior information.

However, while government must play its role of providing an enabling environment for its citizens, awareness must be stepped up on dangers of irregular migration.

On the issue of Libya, over 5000 had been returned to the country during Buhari’s administration through the efforts of International Organization of Migration (IOM), NEMA, NAPTIP.The SSA has been on hand at the airport a few times to receive them on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and joined agencies like NAPTIP, NEMA to co ordinate their rehabilitation.

At this juncture, let me inform you that plans are on to embark on a massive evacuation while continuing to appeal to Nigerians to avoid such dangerous trips.

Painfully enough, these dangerous trips being embarked upon by these irregular migrants, are not free as they pay as high as $4,000 USD to $6,000 USD to traffickers. Such money, up to N2 million and above can be utilise for  a business capable of having a double turn over within six months.

It is however, desirable that the blame game is not what we need now, but  collaborative efforts by all the stakeholders to create the necessary awareness that human trafficking is a crime against humanity and sensitise youths that it is no longer green in those countries.

I have every hope that this response will be given the same space in your widely read medium.

Abdurrahman Balogun is the S.A. Media to Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

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My response

I find it curious that most journalists who engage in public relations management for public officers are still fixated on poor media relations and meretricious approach of reacting to issues around their principals rather than responding to public interest issues their bosses may have failed to address. They need to separate their principals from public service issues we raise in columns and opinion articles.

This is what I can deduce from a recent reaction to an article here on the 26 Nigerian ladies the Italian authorities buried recently, with no Nigerian representative present. The report in question dwelt squarely on absence of humanity in government.

I raised issues on what business a Special Assistant to the President had talking on matter of diplomatic affairs instead of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. I had asked specifically why the Foreign Affairs Ministry was so mute on a matter that should be between government and government.

It stands to reason that if we have a foreign affairs minister that cannot brief the president on critical matters between Nigeria and Italy, then there is no need wasting tax payers’ money on the ministry, which has so many career diplomats that ought to be advising the minister on various international issues, including the issue in the Mediterranean.

In other words, it is a weightier matter of diplomacy, bigger than a Special Assistant to the President and the Foreign Affairs Ministry cannot be sleeping on duty on a serious diplomatic and humanitarian issue.

I think this context should not trigger some insult to me from an assistant to Mrs. Dabiri. All we require is a response to shed light, not an insult on injuries.

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