The recurrent maltreatment of Nigerians abroad, as recently exemplified by the Air Peace incident in Saudi Arabia, calls for urgent and comprehensive action. This issue, ranging from xenophobia in South Africa to racial discrimination in Europe and America, requires a multifaceted approach involving both the Nigerian government and society. Here are key strategies that could be implemented:
- Strengthening Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy:
- The Nigerian government needs to adopt a proactive and robust foreign policy to protect its citizens abroad.
- Engaging in diplomatic negotiations with countries where Nigerians face discrimination and human rights violations is crucial.
- Utilizing Nigeria’s diplomatic influence to ensure compliance with international conventions on migrants’ rights.
2. Enhanced Diaspora Diplomacy:
- Formally recognizing and collaborating with Nigerian diaspora groups can help in lobbying against unjust policies in foreign countries.
- Leverage the political and economic influence of the Nigerian diaspora in their respective host countries.
3. Cultural Diplomacy:
- Promoting Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage can combat xenophobia and negative stereotypes.
- Showcasing Nigerian music, movies, and fashion can transform foreign perceptions and foster better understanding.
4. Defending Nigerian Enterprises Abroad:
- Addressing discriminatory barriers faced by Nigerian corporations, as seen in the Air Peace incident.
- Protecting the interests of Nigerian companies internationally is essential for economic benefits and global market presence.
5. Internal Reforms:
- Tackling domestic issues like poverty, unemployment, insecurity, and state repression that drive dangerous emigrations.
- Reforming the police and justice system to serve Nigerian citizens justly and improve Nigeria’s moral standing internationally.
6. Positive Public Messaging:
- Celebrating the achievements of Nigerians in the diaspora to counteract negative stereotypes.
- Highlighting successful Nigerians in various fields can inspire more dignified global perceptions.
7. Pre-Emigration Education and Orientation:
- Providing orientation programmes for potential emigrants on laws and norms in host countries.
- Educating Nigerians on their rights and how to secure their dignity abroad.
In summary, the Nigerian government, along with society, must work together to protect its citizens abroad through diplomatic engagement, cultural diplomacy, and internal reforms. Addressing the root causes of migration and improving Nigeria’s international image are key to ensuring the safety and dignity of Nigerians globally.