Nigeria’s Consulate Condemns Invasion Of Premises In South Africa Over Unpaid N10m Electricity Bills
The Consulate General of Nigeria in Johannesburg has condemned the invasion of its premises and the disconnection of its electricity supply on Wednesday, 18th January 2023, by officials of Johannesburg City Council, describing it as a flagrant violation of extant international treaties and conventions.
Local news outlet, IOL reported that power utility company, City Power, disconnected power from Nigeria’s diplomatic mission on Wednesday but eventually restored it in the night after the consulate reportedly made part payment of what it owed.
“The consul-general( Abdulmalik Ahmed) visited our Service Delivery Centre in Alexandra, and agreed to pay the deposit, with the rest to be paid by the end of the month.”
“Power was restored late afternoon after the arrangement was made. They owed over R400 000(N10,676,000), and they put up an R150 000 deposit,” City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena told IOL.
Mangena told newsmen that the ongoing disconnection is a revenue generation program that involves going after those owing the city money for the electricity they enjoy.
But in a statement published on the consular general’s website on Thursday, it said while the action of the officials is purportedly on a debt-recovery exercise, the country’s officials ought to know that a consular premises are secured from any form of trespass.
While being silent on the bill in contention, the consular called on the South African government to probe the development.
The statement partly reads:
“The invasion squad, which comprised officials of Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), and City Power, as well as members of the press, arrived at the Consulate without prior notice or appointment and disrupted normal consular services.
“The Consulate maintains that the action of the officials, no matter the justification, was in complete violation of extant international treaties and conventions, especially the Vienna invention on Consular Relations 1963, which guarantees the inviolability of Consular Premises.
“Consequently, the Consulate General has, through diplomatic channels, conveyed the displeasure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the South African Government, with a demand for thorough investigation to be conducted into the illegal violation of the premises of the Consulate General and appropriate remedial measures taken to forestall recurrence.
“Furthermore, the Consulate wishes to express its regrets to members of the public for the disruption to services caused by the invasion and hereby assures that normal consular services have been restored at the Mission.”