The Nigerian Embassy in Washington has protested to the U.S. Government over the violation of its premises by the Secret Service agents following fracas between two local workers, drivers this time. The Acting Ambassador/Charge d’Affaires, Hakeem Balogun, told NAN that a “protest note” had been transmitted to the U.S. Department of State.
Balogun condemned the violation of the diplomatic protocol over altercation by two Embassy drivers adding: “The embassy has as well transmitted a protest note to the U.S. Department of State.
“We have sent a protest note in respect of the entrance by the police into the embassy. It is against diplomatic protocols.
“They are not supposed to enter the embassy. The protest letter is in respect of the entrance of the police into the embassy,” Balogun said.
The Nigerian envoy also said that he “has since taken appropriate and timely, administrative and diplomatic steps to address the incident.
“These measures include the immediate and indefinite suspension of the two local staff members involved in the fracas.
“There is the establishment of a Committee to investigate and recommend appropriate disciplinary actions against the two locally-recruited staff members involved in the fracas.”
Balogun dismissed the publication by a Nigerian newspaper alleging that “the United States Police was called in to restore order in the Embassy as a result of ‘a physical fight’.
The ambassador also described as baseless, claims that the fracas took place “in the full glare of dozens of guests and visa applicants”.
“To buttress its report, the Newspaper attached a photograph claiming to be the ‘chaotic situation’ that erupted as a result of the fight,” he said.
According to him, however, the dispute between two of its drivers took place in the basement area of the Chancery where Embassy drivers are stationed.
“The physical encounter was, therefore, not in the full glare of the public as to have caused a chaotic situation.
Recall that Chairs flew, blows exchanged and Washington Capitol Secret Service Police was called to Embassy of Nigeria in Washington D.C. United States last Monday after two officials of the embassy began fighting. The officials, Mr. Robert Mumford Ditto, a Filipino and one Saka Ologele from Nigeria. Apparently left fuming after an argument, Ditto, angrily threw a chair at Ologele.
Some officials of the embassy tried to engage with the men but the situation then escalated into a physical fight, in the full glare of dozens of guests and visa applicants.
Ditto called in agents from the Washington Capitol Secret Service Police to deal with the commotion, there after several people became angry at his utterances.
No fewer than five police officers arrived and made their way into the embassy to restore order and calm panicky guests and visa applicants.
It took the timely intervention of acting Ambassador, Mr. Hakeem Balogun, to prevent the secret service agents from arresting the officials.
The acting ambassador has suspended the duo indefinitely, it was learnt yesterday morning.
Police confirmed the altercation inside the embassy but did not report any arrest.
Commenting on the incident, a band of Nigerian workers complained about the utterances of Filipino citizens working at the embassy.
Workers alleged that they have been arbitrary and overboard.
Investigations also revealed that in the Defence Attache section of the embassy, Nigerian diplomats have in most times preferred Filipinos to assist in the work there.
From local office assistants to drivers, the department in charge of intelligence uses foreigners, especially the Filipinos, workers alleged.
It was also gathered that the Deputy Defence Attache has a Filipino secretary in this days where the line between diplomat, embassy workers and spy is sometimes blurred.
“You will never see a foreigner at Chinese, Indian, Russian, even at the Ghana embassy at strategic positions,” said a visa applicant.
Approaching foreign nationals and asking them to work for your government is generally agreed to lie in the realm of espionage. Some in Washington have questioned the employment of Filipinos working at sensitive positions inside the embassy.
Reports in the past revealed that some foreign workers in some embassies have been caught surreptitiously seeking to discover passwords, details of private and official email, tracking movements and mobile phone accounts of foreign officials.
“This is an everyday activity that lies deep within the field of espionage. Drivers deployed to diplomats drive with their ears cocked for interesting intelligence. There is a degree of overlap. Diplomats, spies and journalists are all basically nosy people. They all want to find out things that are not generally known,” said a Nigerian diplomat asked about the Filipinos at the embassy of Nigeria.