Diplomatic Row Looms As DR Congo Officials Burgle Nigerian Embassy

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A diplomatic row is brewing, again, between Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo following alleged harassment of Nigerian diplomats, burgling of the Embassy in Kinshasa by a diplomatic police officer deployed to the mission and the illegal seizure of a Nigerian diplomatic property in Gombe, Kinshasa, DR Congo.

Burgling of the Embassy and the illegal seizure of the Nigerian diplomatic property were reportedly carried out by officials of DR Congo, even as the government turned blind eyes to the atrocities.

The development is coming only two weeks after a Nigerian diplomat was brutalised by Indonesian immigration officials in Jakarta.

A source in the Nigerian Embassy said attempts by the Nigerian Ambassador to the DR Congo, Omar Suleiman, to get the authorities of the host country to investigate the desecration of the Embassy and return the seized property have been rebuffed.

“In March 2020, there was an attempt to set the ambassador’s residence ablaze in the middle of the night. The culprit was apprehended and handed over to the police, but to date, nothing has come out from the police concerning the young man that was arrested or the event.

“On August 17, 2020, the Embassy was burgled by one Ilunga Ndaye, the policeman deployed to guard the Chancery. The culprit was apprehended and handed over to the police, on arrival at the police station, he was freed by the police. The authorities claimed he escaped and till date, nothing has been said about him or the incident.

“On August 24, 2020, one Congolese, named Kadija Bakaja, accompanied by armed policemen, invaded 38/40 Avenue Lemera in Gombe, Kinshasa, DR Congo. With the active connivance of the government of DR Congo, she illegally took over the property which is duly owned by Nigeria and she is still occupy the property, till this moment, one year after the invasion of the Nigerian property and the denigration of our sovereign integrity without any form of legal right of occupation.

“Until date, the DR Congo government has neither returned the property they took over illegally nor taken steps to assure Mission that its property in the country are safe from any future harassments and invasions. It is important to note that if immediate action is, therefore, not taken at this time, the Nigerian government stand to loose another of its property to another Congolese,” an official at the Nigerian Embassy said.

“We have been facing a lot of harassments and difficulties in performing our tasks here. It is exactly one year since the Embassy was burgled on August 17, 2021 by officials of DR Congo. It is also one year since some land grabbers, who have official backing of the government of the host country, invaded one of our diplomatic facilities in Gombe, Kinshasa DR Congo.

“There was also threat to the life of our then Head of Mission Charles Nkem Ibim, and the Consular Officer, Kareem, by the land grabbers for daring to stop them. Interestingly, the government of DR Congo has not deemed it fit to investigate any of these atrocities. Maybe they are waiting for another Jakarta episode in the DRC?” another official said.