By Raphael Oni
As a diplomatic reporter, most of my work is among the diplomatic community. Having covered the foreign Missions in Nigeria for over 10 year now, I can say authoritatively that Indonesians are full of hospitality. I have worked closely with three Ambassadors of Indonesia to Nigeria, and each time I see nothing but a heart for others.
It has become habit of the Indonesia community in Abuja to reach out to communities especially during festive periods. The activities around this time include donations and provision of food items, domestic items to local communities within the Federal Capital territory. This hospitality put forward is certainly a reflection of the Indonesian people over there in South East Asia.
In the year 2015, I was part of the WTA-UNESCO event organized by the Tangerang BSD City of Indonesia. The hospitality we received is second to none, which clearly confirmed my thought on Indonesia.
It will therefore, be wrong for certain individual hide under an ugly scene to roll out there personal agenda, while trying to drag other innocent Nigerians along.
Under no circumstance should any human be subjected to inhuman treatment let alone a serving diplomat in a country. It is no longer news that a Nigerian diplomat had an unpleasant treatment from some Indonesian Immigrations Officers in Jakarta some days back. A critical look into the scenario, one will be asking where is the diplomatic immunity for such an individual? Certainly there are certain questions that are begging for answers.
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity that ensures diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country’s laws, although they may still be expelled. Modern diplomatic immunity was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) which has been ratified by all but a handful of nations.
I am one of those who believe so much in the regulation of media as will go a long way to bring sanity to our society. Good journalism is not about just breaking the new, but in breaking the news, it is expected that the journalist get the facts correctly so as to avoid unnecessary tension in the society. As a diplomatic reporter, I believe so much that diplomacy is a specialized field as such those who report issues that affect cross boarders should be specialists.
Technology today should be harness to better diplomatic relations and not to cause cracks in good relations. Nigeria and Indonesia are two brotherly countries that have enjoyed good relations from inception. However, the video that went viral weeks back give room to unnecessary tension which could have been avoided. The report was mischievous as the reporter did not capture the incident that precedes the video.
In as much as I don’t support the action meted on the Nigerian diplomat, the situation could have been avoided both parties allowed humanity to play out. I tried to beam a search light on the ugly situation and come to a conclusion that both party have questions to answer. The attitude of the Nigerian involved does not portray that all Nigerians will act in the way he did, neither does the Indonesians Immigrations officers at that time portray Indonesia as a country. Therefore, it will be wrong for certain individuals to begin to call out to Nigerians government to wade sledge hammer on Indonesia.
Ugly incident that calls for tension among nations are promoted by non-state actors who has lost relevance in the society and looking for ways to become relevant. Such individual will go all the way out to sale their hidden agenda just to win the sympathy of some in the society.
I watched with disbelieve as Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary to the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Timi Frank, called on the Federal Government not to treat a recent attack against a Nigerian Diplomat, Ibrahim Abdulraman, by Indonesian officials with levity. Since falling apart with the ruling party, he has been looking for relevance. It not a surprise that such person will be glad to become an Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East by the Interim President of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) Provisional Government a movement that has no legal standing in the United Nations.
Timi insisted that Indonesia has become notorious for meting out racist treatment against blacks just like it has done to West Papuans for over 50 years, which is not true, but he is trying to justify his position as an Ambassador to a movement yet to be recognized by the United Nations not to talk of Nigeria.
The claim that Government of Nigeria and leaders of the black race to take urgent punitive measures to stop Indonesia from treating blacks like monkeys, dogs, slaves and sub humans by ensuring freedom for West Papua. At the junction, it became clear that he is only looking for avenue to sell his product, and not the interest of the Nigerian diplomat.
Indonesia that I know is a country full of hospitality, the Indonesia people are hospitable always ready to put smiles on others. Indonesia adopts the language of the minority as the national language, but it’s still a very diverse country, a home to hundreds of different ethnic groups that traditionally speak different languages. Nowadays, almost everyone living in civilized areas can speak the national language of Bahasa Indonesia, but some people may still prefer to speak their native language at home or within their social circles. Children learn at least one native language at school, along with the national language and English.
After a detailed investigation, we find out that the Nigerian diplomat could have taking a better bearing and things could have been better, likewise the immigration officers. It is the issue of human errors that could have come from any other person, as of today, both the Nigerian diplomat and the Immigration officers are already in good terms because the error was only accelerated a better relationship between the two countries.
For individual calling on a fight with Indonesia, I will advise that the individual should consult history. Ask question from historians before jumping into conclusion. Please read more about Asia Africa and the Bandung spirit 1955 Asia African Conference because I heard you talking about colonization.
In order to clearly justify my position that certain individuals are just out to spread negativity about Indonesia I have to do some investigative works.
According to report made available to media men by the Institute of Trade Development in Asia said, the Indonesian government plans to evaluate the efficacy of special funds for Papua. These funds have been disbursed to the easternmost region for nearly two decades.
In recent time the government of Indonesia has invest heavily in the developmental projects in Papua and West Papua. Local and national government representatives of Indonesia and dozens of private sector executives attended a High Level Meeting on Green Investment for Papua and West Papua on 27 February 2020. The meeting focused on the potential for green investment to bring revenue of up to USD 200 million and create livelihoods for 60,000 families across both provinces, while following the principles of inclusive and sustainable development.
The meeting is the result of a series of dialogues between the provinces of Papua and West Papua, civil society organizations, indigenous groups and the private sector since 2018, supported by the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investments of the Republic of Indonesia and facilitated by Yayasan Inisiatif Dagang Hijau (IDH). Innovative solutions for forest protection and the development of potential commodity value chains in Papua and West Papua were among the anticipated outcomes of the event.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said, “We want the private sector to invest in low carbon development, such as nutmeg, coffee, cocoa and seaweed. No more deforestation, no more palm oil. We are not only talking about huge investments, but we want small medium enterprises to be developed as well,”
In term of tourism in Indonesia, the government has been in the forefront of promoting all provinces in Indonesia. Most tourists have described Indonesians as resilient, resourceful, tenacious and courageous, putting up with life’s difficulties with good humor. The Indonesian character can loosely be generalized as a mix of Muslim, Southeast Asian and its own indigenous elements. Among most of the countries in the South East Asia, Indonesia hospitality is second to none.
Indonesians are for the most part tolerated and comfortable living in a society shaped by diversity: between devout Muslims and liberal ones; between Muslims and Christians; between modernists and traditionalist; between Java and the other islands; and between the various ethnic groups. Indonesians are very polite and courteous.
Governor of West Papua Dominggus Mandacan stressed that, “On 4 April 2019, with the Governor of Papua we made a commitment to protect the forest. Only 33 percent of the 2.7 million hectares of land outside the forest area has been utilized for the development of land-based commodities. This is the untapped potential that needs to be realized to increase economic growth and community welfare, while maintaining the preservation of forests and land in West Papua.”
Oni, is the Publisher of Diplomatic Extra and wrote this from Abuja