Indonesia regrets manhandling of Nigerian diplomat by immigration authorities

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry on Thursday regretted the manhandling of a Nigerian diplomat by immigration officials in the country’s capital of Jakarta, saying it was an isolated incident.

“This is an isolated incident and is in no way related to the commitment of the Indonesian government in carrying out its obligations as a host country or in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” said the ministry’s spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said in a press conference in the capital.

A viral video that made the rounds Tuesday in Nigeria shows one Indonesian immigration official pinning the diplomat down in a vehicle as the victim screams, calling for help, while two other men watch. Between his yelling in protest, he repeatedly says “I can’t breathe.”

Later, Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama described the treatment of the consular officer by immigration officials in Jakarta on Saturday as “totally unacceptable and unfortunate.”

Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, the Nigerian embassy official, did not show his identity documents during a routine checking in South Jakarta, according to an immigration official. He was taken to the immigration office for further questioning because he was acting aggressively. He did, however, later show his diplomatic credentials.

Faizasyah told reporters that the ministry continued to communicate through diplomatic channels with the Nigerian government after the incident, including meeting with the country’s Minister of Foreign Affair.

The spokesman said the Director General of Asia Pacific and Africa together with the Director General of Protocol and Consular Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also met with the Nigerian Ambassador in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“In the meeting on August 11, we discussed the good relations between Indonesia and Nigeria that have been established so far,” he said.

Faizasyah said the incident has been investigated by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, which oversees immigration authorities. However, he did not provide further details of the investigations.

Ibnu Chuldun, the head of the Jakarta branch of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said in a separate press conference that the on-duty immigration officials were unaware of diplomatic status of the Nigerian.

The diplomat was uncooperative and even rebuked the immigration officials, Chuldun said and added that he was held down in the car after he attacked immigration officials by shouting, biting, elbowing, and attempting to break car windows because they did not tell him where he would be taken.

Chuldun said one of the immigration officials was injured in his lips, forcing them to restrain the diplomat to prevent more attacks. Later, he produced his identity documents.

Both the parties acknowledged that there was a misunderstanding, resolved the issue amicably, he added.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo with Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language services in Jakarta