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Govt assures African nationals of safety

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Union government on Thursday sought to reassure the African nations of its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all African nationals in India and promised that those responsible for the violence against Nigerian students in Greater Noida recently would be prosecuted in accordance with the law of the land.

‘’Such criminal acts are completely unacceptable…we remain engaged with our African friends and African students will continue to be welcomed in India,’’ MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said at a media briefing here. He added that the assault on Nigerian students in Greater Noida represented the action of ‘’uninformed and misguided few’’.

spokesperson said the MEA was in touch with the district administration of Greater Noida which has enhanced the security of the area. The District Magistrate had held a meeting with residents and foreign students’ associations in the presence of representatives from the Nigerian mission. The students who were hurt during the incident had been treated in a local hospital and had already been released.

Regarding yesterday’s incident in which a Kenyan woman claimed that she had been assaulted in Greater Noida, he said the Kenyan High Commissioner had met senior officials of the MEA earlier today and conveyed to them that the reported incident in question ‘’does not correspond to reality’’.

He confirmed that Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria B N Reddy had met with officials of the Nigerian Foreign Ministry and assured them that New Delhi was committed to ensuring the safety and security of Nigerian nationals.

Reports from Abuja said Nigeria asked India to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of those responsible for attacks on its nationals following the death of an Indian youth of a suspected drug overdose in Greater Noida.

The Nigerian media said the Indian envoy was summoned to the foreign office in the wake of the attacks. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to President Muhammadu Buhari, condemned the attacks, describing them as “deplorable and unwarranted”. She asked the Indian government to “ensure that any alleged suspect should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law”.

She called on Nigerians in India to “remain calm and be watchful of their surroundings”. Her appeal followed “multiple distress calls” by Nigerian students on concerns over their safety.