The federal government of Nigeria says it is using the appropriate diplomatic channels to avert a crisis, which may result between Nigeria and Zambia as a result of the “unfair” deportation of some Nigerians from Zambia.
A Zambia newspaper, Daily Nation in its December 15, 2011 edition had reported that some prosperous Nigerians who are legal residents of the country were deported allegedly on the orders of newly inaugurated President Michael Sata for having supported his opponents in September 2011 general elections.
ThisDay newspaper reports that the Permanent Secretary of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi said the Nigerian government was already aware of the matter and was taking advantage of the fact that a good relation exists between the two nations to resolve the matter.
He expressed hope that Zambia would not do anything to jeopardise its relationship with Nigeria.
“It is like business; there is always a risk in it. So, you take risks. We will normally not do anything that would hurt our diplomatic relations,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary was speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Nigeria.
Already, a couple of Nigerians notable a Pastor of the Winner’s Chapel in Zambia, Victor Adeniyi and a bank manager (name withheld) have been deported for frivolous reasons.
The ‘offence’ committed by the bank manager was that he gave an advance of $1m to former president President Rupiah Banda which he used to establish a fund which is now under investigation. Adeniyi was also supporter of Banda.
This becomes the third diplomatic war Zambia is engaging in from the time Sata became president of Zambia 90 days ago. The first one which is ongoing is with the brotherly neighbourly Malawi.
The other one involves Turkey.
President Michael Sata ordered the police to investigate the $1 Million held in the Mpundu Trust which he said is linked to Rupiah Banda. The Watchdog later revealed that the Mpundu Trust is held at Access Finance Bank and was given to the Banda family as a loan by the same Bank.
Access Finance Bank is a Nigerian Bank whose Zambian branch was officially opened by Rupiah Banda when he was acting president in 2008.