Nigerian Consulate Reacts To Allegation By South African Electricity Company Over Alleged Debt Of $35,000

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The Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa has reacted to an allegation levelled against it by a South African electricity distribution company identified as City Power.

According to the consulate, City Power’s actions were a violation of international treaties and an investigation would be launched to address the “illegal violation.”

Naija News reports that the consulate in a statement on Wednesday, said “The consulate general of Nigeria in Johannesburg hereby condemns the invasion of its premises on Wednesday, 18 January 2023, by officials of Johannesburg City Council purportedly on a debt-recovery exercise.”

Their reaction follows the disconnection of the power supply to the Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg over “unpaid bills.”

It was gathered that City Power on Wednesday claimed that the Nigerian consulate was owing the company at least R600,000 (about $35,000) and failure to pay attracted disconnection.

Naija News learnt from The Nation that City Power’s spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, in a tweet said “We are on our 2nd day of revenue collection drive around Alexandra Service Delivery Centre(SDC). Here we started with the Nigerian Consulate General in Illovo who owe @CityofJoburgZA a minimum of R600 000, and they were cut off.”

Mangena was reported to have claimed that the Nigerian consulate shut its gates and refused City Power entry into the building, adding that the consulate’s electricity was cut off when it was clear that no officials were going to meet with the DisCo.

However, the consulate in reaction said saying the electricity company arrived “without prior notice and disrupted services.”

The consulate in its statement submitted that “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 Convention 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.”

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