Abuja/New Delhi: Nigeria has called in the Indian envoy in Abuja to register its protest over attacks on its nationals in India and sought “diligent prosecution” against the perpetrators.
Confirming that its envoy B. N. Reddy had a “meeting” with the Nigerian foreign ministry officials, the external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in New Delhi that the Indian high commissioner conveyed that India was committed to the safety and security of all foreigners, including Africans, in the country.
Reddy also briefed the Nigerian officials about the several steps taken by Indian law enforcement agencies and the local authorities in connection with the attacks in Greater Noida.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Olushola Enikanolaiye, sought action from the Indian government during his meeting with Reddy in Abuja yesterday, state-run News Agency of Nigeria reported.
The Nigerian students were attacked by several people during a candlelight march for a 17-year-old Indian boy, who died of suspected drug overdose last week in Greater Noida.
The boy’s parents alleged that the foreigners had kidnapped him and given him drugs which led to his death.
Enikanolaiye said the call for the prosecution of culprits was necessary to serve as a deterrent to others.
“We want to see diligent prosecution so that it would serve as a deterrent to those who think they can take laws into their hands and harass students who are going about their studies.”
“That is why we felt we should register our concern to you on this occasion, and to please ask your government to take effective measures that this does not occur again,” he said.
Baglay, when asked if these were racial attacks, said pending investigations it was not right to draw any conclusion and the probe must be completed first.
Enikanolaiye expressed concern that the incident was not the first of its kind as Nigerians had been attacked in the past by Indians.
“It is therefore, a concern to us that Nigerian students in that place were harassed, beaten up and many of them were seriously injured,” Enikanolaye was quoted as saying.
“We think this should not have happened considering the excellent relationship between two of us – the two countries have things in common and have been great friends,” he said.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has said the government was taking immediate action and she had spoken to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath who has assured her of a fair and impartial investigation into the “unfortunate” incident.