A controversial agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Austrian government, allegedly signed last week, to deport 1,000 Nigerian asylum seekers from the European country has received knocks from stakeholders who questioned the propriety of the treaty.
But Nigeria's foreign affairs ministry yesterday distanced itself from the said treaty allegedly signed in Abuja. The ministry's spokesperson and acting director (public communication), Ogbole Amedu-Ode, told LEADERSHIP that his office was not "formally" aware of the development.
Going by a monitored report, the Nigerian ambassador to Austria, Maria Oyeyinka Laose, allegedly led an Austrian high delegation to Nigeria and signed the purported treaty. The report citing the Austrian Press Agency and Austrian newspapers added that the agreement was signed last week in Abuja by the Austrian vice-chancellor and foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger, and Nigerian foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru.
In a swift reaction to the development, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the committee will make concerted efforts to peruse the contents of the said agreement to ensure that the interests of Nigerians in Austria are protected.
Dabiri-Erewa however stated that she has not had the opportunity to go through the details of the document and cannot make any informed statement on it.
"I cannot make any informed commentary if I don't know the details of the agreement. However in all we do, the interests of Nigerians should be paramount," she said.