By Miftaudeen Raji

Stories of a Nigerian businessman Tochil Nwaneri rumoured appointment as the Nigerian Ambassador to Grenada have been making rounds in the mainstream media and social media platforms.

Some of the mainstream newspapers and online platforms that published the fake news included Imotrumpeta and Sunnewsonline.

Nwaneri, a native of Imo State has been widely reported by several Nigerian newspapers claiming to have stated that his appointment came into effect on 11 July, and he will be at the helm of affairs as Chairman of the official Diplomatic headquarters which will be situated in Abuja.

The businessman was described by many media outlets as the Chairman of Tochil Global Enterprises Limited, Centrafrique Investment Group CIG.

The reports claimed that Nwaneri promised to use his new office to further strengthen and create investment opportunities between the two countries, adding that Nigeria and Grenada will be having an investment summit in October 2022 to be held in Grenada.

In addition to reports of the rumoured appointment, several news websites which published the report, also published a photo, where both Nwaneri and PM Mitchell were seen shaking hands in front of the Grenada flag, which depicted that Nwaneri was legitimately appointed.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Dickon Mitchell has dismissed the claims, saying the stories citing a statement of the Nigerian businessman in the oil and financial sector in his homeland claiming that he was appointed as an ambassador-at-large for Grenada by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Grenada administration are false.

The Prime Minister said that the photo was one given during a courtesy call.

In a statement, Mitchell said no diplomatic appointments have been made since the NDC, a social democratic and centre-left and governing party in Grenada was voted into office on 23 June, 2022.

He said, “I met the gentleman last Monday evening. It was a courtesy call that he asked me to pay for. He was accompanied by another Grenadian who was also appointed as a diplomat by the prior administration and when he made that courtesy call, he asked for a photo and the photo was given.

“Our government has not appointed any ambassador at large, nor any honourary consul. We have made no diplomatic appointments. I indicated at the swearing-in ceremony of the ministers of cabinet that we were recalling all diplomat appointees,” the Prime Minister told newsmen in a press briefing.

The Prime Minister also said that he is unaware of any investment summit between the two countries. “I am not aware of any summit or investment summit planned between Grenada and Nigeria. It’s the first time I am hearing about it,” he said.

While answering questions on the rumoured appointment, Mitchel added, “I am not aware that the gentleman you have referred to has been appointed to any diplomatic position for Grenada. If he was, he would not have been appointed by this Government. If he has been appointed, he will certainly be recalled.”

“When I met the gentleman, I certainly was not under the impression nor did he convey to me that he had been appointed as any diplomat,” said the Prime Minister who preferred not to name the former Grenadian diplomat who accompanied Nwaneri,” he added.

The Grenada Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Andall also corroborated the Prime Minister’s statement.

 Andall said the new administration will be implementing several recommendations from the Richard Cheltenham Commission of inquiry which was done more than ten years by Sir Richard Cheltenham.

The Commissioner of inquiry investigated an alleged briefcase scandal involving a previous administration of former Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.

 The Cheltenham report had recommended that Grenada cease appointing non-nationals to diplomatic posts such as ambassadors.

 Further checks by Vanguard on the Nigerian Embassy website also proved that there is no Embassy of Nigeria in Grenada.

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