The Embassy of Nigeria in Rome has been in the eye of the storm for sometime following an altercation allegedly directed by a diplomat Mr Franklin Abiola Ogunyemi against the outgoing Ambassador to Italy Mr Yusuf Jonga Hinna.
Like Ambassador Hinna who has completed his tour of duty in Italy, Ogunyemi, who has attained the position of Assistant Director at the External Affairs Ministry, has been recalled to Abuja having also completed his assignment here.
Ogunyemi fell out with the Ambassador in an apparent power struggle. At a meeting of officers presided over by Ambassador Hinna on September 16, 2020, the agenda of the meeting hadn’t even been laid out when Ogunyemi leapt up to confront the Ambassador.
AfroLife sources at the Ministry, told this publication that Ogunyemi told the Ambassador pointblank that he should stop coming to his office at the Embassy. As if that wasn’t enough, he directed that Mr Hinna should vacate the residence with immediate effect.
Some officers at the meeting were said to have been miffed at the audacity with which Ogunyemi dressed down the Ambassador. Ogunyemi was said to have underlined the seriousness of his confrontation by telling the Ambassador that everything necessary for his passage back to Nigeria, including finance, had arrived from Nigeria. But AfroLife checks revealed that Ogunyemi’s claim was far from the truth. For instance as at the date of the meeting money for the Ambassador’s “passage” hadn’t arrived from Abuja.
So why is Ogunyemi in a hurry to see the back of the Ambassador? AfroLife sources said the whole sordid affair wasn’t unconnected with the quest of Ogunyemi to be Charge d’Affaire of the Mission even if it’s for “one day.” Ogunyemi is a Minister at the Mission, and as the most senior diplomat was expected to take charge pending the arrival of a new Ambassador.
But this 16th of September episode has got the Ministry beaming a searchlight on the Embassy in Rome. Ogunyemi is even suspected of having some plans up his sleeve in collusion with the Financial Attache Mr Ifedun Adedoyin, who has also been recalled. Adedoyin, AfroLife gathered ought to have proceeded on retirement leave but is still hibernating at the Embassy. Both officers are said to be from Ondo State.
When AfroLife Assistant Editor reached out to Ogunyemi for his own side of the story, he denied there was any altercation directed at the Ambassador. He told this publication when a meeting is going on such as that of September 16th, there were bound to be differing views. He denied categorically there was any act of insubordination at that meeting. He confirmed to AfroLife that his recall letter had arrived and that he was willing to move at any time.
AfroLife learnt that the Ministry of External Affairs is not happy at what transpired at that meeting and regretted what had happened. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyema, directed that Ogunyemi winds up on his stay in Italy and return to headquarters immediately.
Keep it here for more on this story.