Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), has drawn criticism for her negative portrayal of Nigerians living abroad.
The criticism of Dabiri-Erewa comes in the wake of a fight that broke out between Nigerians and Indians on Saturday during a football game between students from both continents.
More than 80 Nigerian students at the GD Goenka University in Gurgaon, India, were hurt in the event.
The NiDCOM chairman responded to the incident by assuring that the Nigerian delegation had taken the situation under control and that representatives of the Indian government had pledged to ensure the students’ safety.
“This happened Saturday, as a result of a fracas, during a football match between African and Indian Students. The Nigerian mission immediately took custody of 86 Nigerian students, invited the representatives of the Indian government, got their commitment to ensuring the safety of the students who have reportedly fled the school after an altercation with their Indian counterparts,” On Monday, she stated in a tweet.
Using the slang term “mumu,” which translates to “stupid” in Nigerian, Twitter user @sensegiver1 accused her of doing “eye service” and advised her to travel to Indonesia to observe how horribly Nigerians were treated there.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa retorted angrily: “Ode! You go to Indonesia, carry drugs, do cultism and come begging to be rescued from death sentence. Thank God for @ndlea_nigeria now saving people like you from death row”.
Many Nigerians have already denounced her outburst and criticized her for falsely portraying Nigerians living abroad as drug dealers and members of cults.
“Dear Abike @abikedabiri, What is this? 🤦🏾♀️. Kai. This is messy. Please clean it up. Quickly. Please,” Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education, responded to NiDCOM boss statement.
The NiDCOM boss, however, remained unyielding and questioned stating: “Is it okay for some untrained, uncouth guy to refer to me as “mumu”, and I can’t call him “ode”? I’m not a public official that cows to bullying pls.”
Background of the Whole Scenario
Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University in Sweden, released a video of some Indian students menacingly approaching some people with rods and stones on Twitter.
Nigerian students are being attacked in a University Campus near Delhi – 30,000 Nigerian students come to study in India paying money, 50,000 Indians live in Nigeria to make money. pic.twitter.com/K9u9Vn1PhM
— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) October 17, 2022
A Nigerian student named Khaleel told Times of India (TOI) that conflict started when Indian and Nigerian students were put on the same football team for a game.
“Our captain spoke with the sports officer and laid down his objections against a ‘mixed team’. The officer decided to call off the match. Despite that, a few Indian students entered the field and before anyone could realize a thing, someone hit our captain on the head with an iron rod,” the student was quoted as saying.
“Outsiders, who had come on bikes, also joined them and there was a clash. However, the matter was resolved that day itself.”
The hostel was stormed the following day (Saturday), according to Khaleel, who also stated that “they hurled insults and threatened us with severe repercussions.”
Sultan Khan, an Indian student, disputed the assertion that the attacks were carried out by locals, according to TOI.
Khan claims that on Saturday, while out for a stroll on the school grounds, he was attacked by five Nigerians.
“They kept raining blows on me. My friends came to my rescue but they were thrashed with sticks and rods too,” he said.
Both parties have since lodged complaints at the Sohna City police station, according to TOI.
The change occurs almost a month after it was reported that Indian students protested against their Nigerian classmates who were reciting Islamic prayers on the soccer pitch.
The majority-Hindu Indian students reportedly complained to the administration of the school, demanding that Muslim students confine their prayers to the hostels.