The attention of the National Association of Nigerian Community Austria (NANCA) has been drawn to a publication titled “Hunderte Nigerianer als Dealer: Botschaft sieht kein Problem” on page 12 of the “Krone Zeitung,” 17th February 2011 edition.
We wish to state categorically that Nigeria as a country does not condone drugs in any form, and drug trafficking is taken seriously at the highest level of the Nigerian Government. This led to the formation of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), an agency recognized globally as a trusted ally in the fight against drug trafficking. However, we are not unmindful of the fact that a few Africans living in Austria, confronted with the harsh economic realities occasioned by their inability to work legally, or perhaps deluded by the lure of quick financial rewards end up on the streets of Vienna peddling drugs. At all levels of official interactions, these illegal and shameful actions of a few has been denounced, rebuked and the perpetrators advised to engage in more dignifying enterprises in their respective regions of sojourn.
It is therefore unfortunate that an honest and candid interview, granted in good faith, by two respected diplomats at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna, could be so twisted and sensationalized, to convey a message totally at variance with what was intended.
While it is obvious to every objective resident of the City of Vienna that the “Krone Zeitung”, more than any other Newspaper in Austria, is always too eager to brand Nigerians as drug dealers, we feel that this recent attempt to imply that officials at the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna see no problem in the illegal activities of a few unscrupulous Nigerians, is malicious and a calculated attempt to ridicule any opinion contrary to the Newspaper’s biased assumptions.
We believe that “Krone Zeitung” short charged its readership by intentionally using statistics of Nigerians involved in drug related cases, in an ambiguous context. A more comprehensive use of statistics about the total volume of drug trafficking in Austria and the percentage of it that Nigerians have been convicted for, will reveal that persons of Nigerian heritage make up an insignificant fraction of Austria’s endemic drug problem. Therefore, the indiscriminate use of selective statistics to portray Nigerians living in Austria as criminals and the callous suggestion that everyone in Austria, except officials at the Nigerian Embassy see Nigerians as drug dealers, betray unprofessionalism, if not an abject abuse of known ethics of journalism. We assume that the Austrian people know better than to be taken in by such bogus speculative characterization.
It is bad journalism to tell one side of a story. We therefore challenge “Krone Zeitung” and its team of sensation seeking journalists to do an honest appraisal on the majority of Nigerians living in Austria who are engaged in legal occupations, dutifully fulfilling their civic duties and contributing meaningfully to the Austrian economy. It will also be beneficial for readers to be informed about the constructive engagements that the Nigerian Embassy in Vienna has initiated with the Austrian authorities towards finding solutions to illegal migration and associated crimes. Finally, while we do not want to comment on “Krone Zeitung’s” editorial objectives, we do recommend that a frank analysis of the dysfunction in this society that drives young Austrians into drug abuse and the inhumane treatment of immigrants, which compel young asylum seekers, who see no other practical alternative to survival in Austria, into drug peddling, will be more productive in our joint effort to fight drugs and related crimes in Austria.
Signed: Comrade Victor Oshioke Secretary General
Ing. Oluyemi Ogundele President