An incident involving a Nigerian diplomat and immigration officers in Indonesia is triggering unease in relations between the two nations.
Video of an incident that occurred on Saturday has been making the rounds in the past couple of days, showing AI, a Nigerian consular officer based in Jakarta, being manhandled by immigration officers. At one point in the video, an officer can be seen pinning AI’s head against a car seat, with the diplomat repeatedly screaming “I can’t breathe” and exclaiming that his neck was in pain.
According to the Justice and Human Rights Regional Office in Jakarta, which oversees matters related to immigration, the officers were conducting a patrol for possible foreigners violating their stay permits in Kuningan, South Jakarta. They came across AI, who, at the time, failed to produce any forms of ID nor identified himself as a diplomatic officer.
Instead, AI challenged the officers to detain him.
“I must underline that [AI] refused to show his ID, so the officers were not aware of his diplomatic status,” Jakarta Justice and Human Rights Regional Office Chief Ibnu Chuldun said today.
On the way to immigration, Ibnu said AI acted aggressively, resulting in one officer getting bruises and a cut lip. It was then that the incident in the video played out as the officers attempted to take control of the situation.
It was at the immigration office when AI was finally identified as a diplomat. Ibnu said Nigeria’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Usman Ogah, came to the office that evening and oversaw an amicable end to what was chalked off as a misunderstanding.
But Nigeria doesn’t seem to be appeased by Indonesian officials’ explanations, calling the incident “an egregious act of international delinquency by the Indonesian state” while demanding punishments for the immigration officials involved.
Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry has called home Ambassador Usman Ogah to give a full report to the government, as many in the country say the incident epitomizes the disdain that other countries hold for Nigerians.