Vincent Ikuomola, Abuja
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama has said Nigeria and its image abroad should not be judged by the actions of a very few criminals.
Onyeama, who was the special guest on News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, said despite the involvement of a few Nigerians in the recently uncovered high profile scams, many more Nigerians were doing good and positive things abroad.
He described as unfortunate the perception in the media that bad news made better news than good news.
The minister urged the Nigerian media to shine its lights on the good deeds of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to him, no country in the world has taken action against Nigeria on the account of the bad deeds of an individual.
“Another thing we do is also to highlight the positive things that Nigerians are doing around the world. We believe that more Nigerians, many more Nigerians, are doing very good things and positive things around the world than Nigerians doing negative things.
“You, the media, of course, we all know that no news is good news. What sells and excites and interests people is sensational news. So, there is also that element.
“So, I think the challenge is for us to always bring up the good things that Nigerians are doing,” he said.
Also, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa said Nigerians in Diaspora should not be judged by the activities of some bad elements among them.
In a statement by Gabriel Odu of the agency’s Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa said: “Nigerians all over the world are known to be hardworking, diligent and determined and succeeding tremendously in their chosen careers wherever they are. Bad news travels fast.”
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The statement referred to a Nigerian, Mr Ikenna Nweke, who received commendations from the Japanese government and its police for returning a lost wallet containing large sums of money and a credit card. Yet, it did not make headlines.”
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa recalled that while the news of Hushpuppi was trending, a Nigerian in Russia, Dr Chidubem Obi, graduated with a 5.0 Grade Point Average (GPA), cleaning all established records in the university.
The NiCOM chief stressed that Nigerians are unarguably the most educated immigrants in the United States of America (U.S.A) and are hard-working, committed, determined and successful in their careers and professions.
Praising the Federal Bureau of Information (FBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for tracking and tracing fraudsters, Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa stressed that the law must be allowed to take its cause.
She added: “Let us focus more on the positive things Nigerians in the Diaspora are doing than the few negative narratives that purportedly give Nigeria a bad image.
“Some Nigerians are working three to four jobs per day. Yet, negative acts by those arrested for fraud are used to judge and stereotype them.”
Mrs. Dabiri-Erewa advised Nigerian youths to use their energies on honesty and integrity and uphold high moral values.
She added that one bad apple cannot spoil the whole bunch.