The charge by the Federal Government of Nigeria to all the country’s ambassadors that they must ensure the protection of all Nigerians abroad ought to be lauded. Giving the charge to the new 88 ambassadors-designate in Abuja, Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, has warned that Nigeria will not hesitate to invoke the principle of reciprocity against any country that treats its people with disdain.
The charge comes in the wake massive human rights violations against African immigrants in most parts of the world. In Italy for example, an Italian man in Florence went where African traders sell their wares, murdered two and wounded at least three others. In Saudi Arabia, the fundamental rights of many African maids are violated. They are held against their will, humiliated, tortured and killed. Nigerians in Austria are yet to recover from circumstances that led to the death of Marcus Omofuma who died in police hands. The cover-up of cases with racial tendencies by both the Austrian Authorities and press has been going on for a very long time.
Developed countries prize their citizens highly and will go to great lengths to secure their wellbeing. African governments similarly ought to prize their citizenry and realize that the latter are a great resource whose creative energies need to be nurtured and freed to make Africa play a positive role in the global economy. However, Africans will not earn respect in the international arena if they are denigrated at home. A case in point is the treatment of African blacks in Libya; xenophobic tendencies against Zimbabweans in South Africa; the recent diplomatic spat that saw Nigeria deport South Africans; the conflict between northern and southern Sudanese; brutal killings of Africans by their governments and sustaining conditions that see Africans brave the high seas to escape from the continent. If African governments value their citizens, the citizens will in return give value to the continent.