Sunday, 8 July 2007

Nigerian Embassy in Hungary Should Improve on Information Technology

The world is still aglow with a sense of victory for discovering what is now known as The age of Information Technology. It seems our existence is now largely depends on macroscopic of information. Computer for example is leading in this regard. All one need do nowadays is sit comfortably in front of the screen with keyboard and you have the world at your finger.

How un/fortunate we are. Good or bad, those who fail to embrace this madness would definitely find themselves at the bottom of the totem pole. They become the practical joke of their immediate environment. A father or mother who does not embrace IT craziness often becomes outdated in the eyes of his or her children.

Most especially, organizations are caught in the web of this madness. The smooth path to failure for any establishment is not to adhere to this simple fact, which has elevated IT graduates’ position. The culture of information has shaped our thinking; it has become our trust on how best to comport ourselves. It has improved us in all ramifications. The other day a student of mine was telling me how the internet has helped his Hungarian family find their lost relatives who had fled to the US in the 50’s. What a joyful tear.

Despite this advancement (?), I was dazed to hear that many Nigerian Embassies all over the world did not know about the death of a Nigerian dastardly killed in Spain while being deported. It’s simply an implausible excuse for Nigerian representatives abroad to claim ignorant of such magnitude incident, because Concerned Nigerians Worldwide did a very good PR job. Every avenue was used to its fullest in order for the world to hear and listen to our cries.

So what happens to networking among the Nigerian Embassies across the globe. For instance, what prevented the Nigerian Embassy in Spain where the incident took place to inform its counterparts? Or what exactly is the purpose of a circular letter? Or are Nigerian Embassies as divided as walnut? Are they not in contact with one another especially during emergency?

I was doing a research recently when I stumbled on the websites of the Nigerian Embassies. Whilst that of Germany, Austria, Atlanta, could be described as standard because of the juicy and abundant information, the same thing could not be said of our Embassy in Hungary, which provides scanty information about the services to Nigerians living in Hungary. And if anybody thinks I’m only being mischivious, let him or her visit the Embassy of Nigeria in the The Haque's website to actually catch a glimpse of my argument.

For instance, Citizen Identification, Forum, Q & A, Age Declaration, Qualification Update, should be included. Besides, why can’t the Nigerian Embassy here authenticate documents unless in Abuja whereas its counterparts in Atlanta and Austria render such services even though with extortionate prices? The Nigerian Embassy websites should be unfettered competition in the informative arena.

The websites of the Nigerian Embassies in Atlanta and neighbouring Austria and Germany give more useful information like News, Events, Mission, Gallery, Press Release, Visiting Nigeria, Education in Nigeria, Foreign journalists, and even 419 scam. Why is the Nigerian Mission here in Hungary different? I think it should emulate the aforementioned Nigerian Consulates.

I kinda like the introduction by the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, who states categorically that the website "was created in fulfillment of my promise to Nigerians of the creation of a Web Site that would serve the needs of the information age". And that’s what I’m talking about.

Although the website of the Nigerian Embassy in Hungary extensively focuses on business and investment, it does not provide enough data on factors that may make potential investors shun the country. I mean how can any Nigerian Embassy be talking about business without equally talking about 419 scam which has become an epidemic outbreak of embarrassment for our country.

In fact, I strongly believe and thus recommend that the Nigerian Embassies should always educate their different hosts about this advanced free fraud which is powerful enough to deter potential investors from going to any region in Nigeria. Example of this can be found on the website of the Nigerian Embassy in The Haque where a rejoinder was placed on the news section, disparaging the misinformation about 419.

Does our Embassy here keep records of news concerning Nigeria or Nigerians in Hungary? I should think so. I once did a story titled, "Governments React to Scam " published by the then Budapest Week. I expect such story to be displayed on the Embassy Information Board, or even made available where potential investors could read it. It does not augur well for Nigeria’s image if 419 information or news is not given enough coverage. Worse still, if potential investors have to rely on American or British websites for such information. It is our problem and we must lead in this regard.

Additionally, it would be a thing of joy if one can read Nigerian newspapers, and or magazines at our Embassies across the globe. Well, this may not be that necessary as one could easily read them on the web, and the links are lusciously provided by Nigerian Missions. This is laudable.

Finally, why did it take weeks after the Ambassador’s arrival in Hungary before her name was eventually included on the staff list? Most Nigerians have known, or have seen her here and there before the website was updated. Up till now the Nigerian former President’s name has not been changed to the new one. This is the usefulness of news or press release section which can be used to educate Nigerians. Over to the new Nigerian Ambassador to Hungary, Mrs Adeola Adebisi Obileye (Mni).

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