A mild drama played out at the venue of a meeting called by the House of Representatives on Thursday when the Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab, staged a walk-out.
Diab, shortly after entering Conference Room 236, New Building, House Wing of the National Assembly complex, walked out on the Committee on Diaspora Affairs who he was to meet.
Also at the meeting were the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Zubairu Dada; Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Julie Okah-Donli; officials of the Federal Ministries of Justice and of Labour, Employment and Productivity as well as Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, among others.
It was learnt that the ambassador was expecting a closed-door meeting with the lawmakers but met other government officials and journalists at the venue.
Miffed by what he saw, Diab walked out of the venue at around 10.50 am as the meeting was about to start in the open.
Chairman of the committee, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, had said she was shocked that the “ambassador will just get up and walk out on us”.
While some lawmakers and officials followed the ambassador, the committee called for a closed-door session, sending journalists, security men and aides out of the venue.
Emerging from the meeting, Akande-Sadipe said, “It was an informal meeting because the Ambassador was nice enough to join us at the meeting. There is no law that says he has to be here today but because he has an interest in the joint relationship between Nigeria and Lebanon.
“We have a lot of Nigerians in Lebanon and we have a lot of Lebanese in Nigeria. We have a relationship with Lebanon from the 50s…
“This meeting today has further reiterated that the Lebanese community and the Nigerian community always stand together to ensure that justice and respect for human lives is a priority, and we will work together to bring modern-day slavery to an end.”
The committee has been meeting with stakeholders on the harassment, intimidation and tracking of Nigerians in other countries, especially on the case of Temitope Arowolo in Lebanon.