ABUJA — Most European nations are yet to delist Nigeria from their terrorist watch list, despite the delisting of the country by America and Britain, Foreign Affairs Minister, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, said, weekend. Ashiru, who spoke at a parley with Editors in Abuja, however, declined to comment on an al-qaeda video on the internet showing a Briton and Spaniard allegedly kidnapped in Birnin Kebbi in May.
The Minister explained that the failure by most European nations to follow the US and British example in removing Nigeria from their terrorist watch list had continued to expose Nigerians to unpleasant experiences, when seeking travel visas to some European destinations.
He assured that the Federal Government was taking steps to ensure that the country was delisted from European terror watch list.
He said: “We have instructed our missions abroad to write strong protest letters to these countries because I wonder why there should be delay in procuring visas like the Schengen visa.”
The Minister also expressed concern at the increasing number of young Nigerians recruited by foreign drug cartel to smuggle drugs into the West.
Ashiru, however, insisted that henceforth Nigerian missions abroad would not turn its back on any of the nation’s citizens, particularly in seeing to it that citizens get fair hearing in the case of those apprehended for criminal offences by their host nation.
He said, “Even when a Nigerian is caught on the wrong on side of the law, the embassies must ensure that he/she gets fair justice.
The Minister urged the media to partner with the Ministry to educate young Nigerians on the ills and danger of getting involved in drug trafficking and other prohibited narcotics.
On Nigeria’s new foreign policy agenda, he stated that Nigerian missions have been instructed to assist business men from home with right contacts in order to attract investments into the country.
Ashiru added that henceforth the private sector will form part of government entourage to talks on bilateral trade.
“Ambassadors have been directed to spend greater part of their time on investment promotion and attracting trade to the country” he said.
He further disclosed that heads of missions have been directed to assist Nigerians in need no matter the situation as government would no longer tolerate the maltreatment of its citizens.
The minister however failed to make a clear statement on government position on a video on the internet alleging that an Italian and a Briton who were kidnapped by al-queada in Kebbi state in May.
It was alleged that a video tape in circulation showed the kidnapped foreigners linking their ordeal to Al-Qaeda.