NEW DELHI: The attack on African nationals took a diplomatic turn on Thursday after Nigeria summoned the Indian envoy, demanding immediate action against those who were part of the attack that took place on March 27 in Greater Noida.
News reports from Lagos suggested that Nigeria had registered that its nationals were repeatedly targeted in apparent racist attacks and that the perpetrators of the latest attack should be arrested and prosecuted.
Reports said that the Indian High Commissioner Nagabhushana Reddy was summoned by senior diplomat Olushola Enikanolaiye to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria to explain the incident in which four Nigerian students were beaten up by a mob during a candlelight march for a 17-year-old Indian boy, who died of suspected drug overdose last week in Greater Noida.
Enikanolaiye demanded “diligent prosecution” against the perpetrators so that it serves as a deterrent to others in the future.
“And we want to see diligent prosecution so that it would serve as a deterrent to those who think they can take laws into their hands and harass students who are going about their studies. That is why we felt we should register our concern to you on this occasion, and to please ask your government to take effective measures that this does not occur again,” Enikaolaiye was quoted as saying by a Nigerian news outlet.
Reddy responded by citing India’s condemnation of the incident and said that the attack was “deplorable.”
This is the second time in less than a year that the attack on African nationals in India has become a diplomatic problem for New Delhi. Last year, African diplomats threatened a boycott of official celebrations after a Congolese national was killed in Delhi.
In a separate incident, the Noida police on Thursday claimed that a complaint lodged by a Kenyan woman, that she had been pulled out of a cab and assaulted in Greater Noida, had been found to be false.
The Kenyan national was not assaulted and the report lodged in this regard was false, Noida Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Dharmendra Yadav said.
Police officials produced Pintu, driver of the cab in which the lady had travelled to corroborate their version.
The cab driver said that he had dropped the Kenyan national at sector Omicron in Greater Noida and had witnessed no such attack.
The Noida SSP claimed that there were no injury marks to support the woman's version either.
A Police Control Room (PCR) van stood just a few meters from the location of the alleged assault, yet no one saw any attack taking place, a senior police officer said.
The woman had called a police chowki in-charge whose number she had taken earlier in the morning and complained about the assault, the SSP said.
He added that when the police personnel reached Ivory hospital, they were told that doctors were not treating her.
The Kenyan national was then taken to the Kailash hospital from where too she was soon discharged, Yadav said.
The SSP claimed that the lady may have been slapped by Nigerian friends and not local youths.
A Kenya Embassy official too said the woman was under tension due to family problems and had fabricated the false assault story.
African Students Welfare Association president Charles said, "The Kenyan national had given a false statement. It has been proved. Police has been providing security to us".
The Kenyan national had earlier in her complaint said that she was travelling in an Ola cab when unknown persons stopped the vehicle, pulled her out and thrashed her.
The allegation came close on the heels of an attack on African students and the police had promptly registered an FIR on the complaint.