Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted an allegation of negligence and poor service against the Nigerian Embassy in Berne, Switzerland.
The said was leveled on some social media platforms by a Nigerian citizen, Mr. Aghaeze Francis Chinedu, who is resident in Switzerland.
A statement titled: “CLARIFICATION ON THE DEFAMATORY VIDEO AGAINST THE NIGERIAN EMBASSY IN BERNE, SWITZERLAND” signed by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye on Monday read in part that: “The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to a video currently in circulation on the social media by one Mr. Agbaeze Francis Chinedu, a Nigerian citizen resident in Switzerland, falsely accusing the Nigerian Embassy in Berne of negligence and poor service delivery.
LThe Ministry wishes to strongly refute the allegations against the Embassy and issue the following clarifications:
“In line with the mandatory COVID-19 policy measures and directives (third-tier lockdown) announced by the Swiss Government on 14th January, 2021, the Immigration Officers of the Embassy were obliged to cancel all earlier booked appointments and all applicants were informed accordingly.
“The information regarding discontinuation of consular services were sent via public notices to the President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) Swiss chapter, relevant media in Switzerland and also uploaded on the official website of the Mission.”
The statement said: “Investigations revealed that contrary to his alleged claims, Mr. Agbaeze Francis Chinedu had no prior booking with the Embassy and neither did any records show or prove that he contacted the Immigration officers of the Embassy.”
It added that: “The President of NIDO (Swiss chapter) informed the Mission that he had earlier contacted Mr. Agbaeze requesting that he removes the defaming video after his failure to provide substantial proof of his claims but Mr. Agbaeze remained defiant and rather issued more threats.”
It said: “In the light of the the above, the Ministry wishes to condemn the defamatory and inciting actions of Mr. Agbaeze against staff of the Embassy and the Nigerian State.”
The statement however explained that: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been varying levels of lockdown measures implemented by several countries and our Missions are obligated to respect and comply with the directives of their host countries.
“Therefore, in compliance with the new developments in Switzerland, as regards the mandatory teleworking directive, strict restrictions and limit on the number of people in workplaces, the Immigration Officers have informed that all cancelled appointments will be re-booked when the lockdown is lifted.”
The Ministry however reminded and urged Nigerian citizens in their various host countries to kindly abide by the online booking systems of their Missions and refrain from disorderly conduct, a new measure put n place “to ensure that consular services at the Embassy are carried out with the observation of COVID-19 protocols, in the interest of all.”