A plate Of Food Goes For €10
Fellow Nigerians, the management of the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, Austria has turned the waiting room of the Embassy into a food joint, popularly known in Nigeria as “Mama-put” – where assorted types of dishes like Jollof rice, beans, fried fish and plantains etc. are served.
When one gets into the embassy for anything, after normal questioning and writing down one’s name at the reception, the sliding door will be opened for the person to go in by the receptionist. And immediately after the step at the right-hand side is the spot mapped out for the business of selling food by the embassy. A plate of food here goes for €10 (around N7,780 currently naira exchange rate equivalent). One could equally purchase take-away.
One needs not to be told that there is delicious food around the corner. Immediately one gets into the embassy the appetizing aroma of sizzling Jollof rice or fried fish etc. welcomes the person. Anyone who is hungry is advised to avoid the downstairs of the embassy because the strong smell of the stew or Jollof rice and fried meat on air keep the stomach of that person extremely uncomfortable and very restless in protest.
I confess that the food there is very delicious. But is the embassy of a country the right place to perceive smell of fried snails and draw soups of Ogbono and Okra?
Whatever that prompted this embarrassment is ridiculously disgraceful. I have never seen nor heard of such ugly news anywhere in the world, where embassies sell food to visitors in their waiting rooms except Nigeria.
Does it mean that the Nigerian government is not paying the staff of the embassy their salary that made them to shamelessly resort into turning the embassy to a restaurant? This is unfortunate.
I tried contacting the ambassador like I had done with some other past ambassadors so that this issue and other complaints from Nigerians could be discussed and settled without the public knowledge, but the response from the embassy was so discouraging, arrogant and provoking. Hence this open letter, and more exposures will come.
This ugly situation is not hidden, and cannot be possible without the consent and the approval of the upper echelons of the embassy, because it has been going on for a very long time now. Nigerians in Austria do nothing than murmur. Therefore, I call on the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama to please, kindly instruct the ambassador of Nigeria to Austria, His Excellency, Ambassador S. D. Umar to discontinue this shameful exhibition. It is odd and very embarrassing.
The ambassador must please brace up to the reality that that small place at the embassy is not the right place to do any personal business. It is not supposed to be used to compensate anyone or for charity. It is hilariously shameful and should be discontinued with immediate effect.
May God bless Nigeria.
Uzoma Ahamefule, a concerned patriotic citizen, and a refined African tradition, writes from Vienna, Austria.