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PM Dickon Mitchell clears the air on Nigerian ambassadorial appointment

The photo of Nigerian businessman Tochil Nwaneri shaking hands with PM Dickon Mitchell, which he told reporters was taken during a courtesy visit last Monday

Newly installed Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has dismissed as false, reports circulating online that Nigerian businessman in the oil financial sector Tochil Nwaneri, has been appointed as an ambassador-at-large by his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.

PM Mitchell cleared the air on the issue during Tuesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing in St. George’s, where he affirmed that there have been no diplomatic appointments since NDC was voted into office on June 23 as replacement for the New National Party (NNP) of Dr. Keith Mitchell.

“Our government has not appointed any ambassador-at-large, nor any Honourary Consul. We have made no diplomatic appointments. I indicated at the swearing-in ceremony of the ministers of cabinet that we were recalling all diplomatic appointees. Cabinet has since passed the necessary approval to do so and the Ministry of Finance is working through all the necessary requirements of recalling…,..” PM Dickon Mitchell told reporters in response to a question posed to him on the issue.

Nwaneri, who is said to be from IMO State in the South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, is widely reported by several Nigerian newspapers to have stated that his appointment came into effect on July 11, and he will be at the helm of affairs as Chairman of the official Diplomatic headquarters, which will be situated in Abuja, Nigeria’s administrative and political capital.

An online report headlined, “IMO Born Tochil Nwaneri Appointed Ambassador At Large For Grenada In Nigeria,” which was written by Onyekachi Eze and posted on the ‘IMO Trumpeta’ website on Tuesday (July 19), spoke of Tochil’s plans to use his Abuja office to further strengthen and create investment opportunities between the two (2) countries.

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Online publications have also alluded to an investment summit to be held in Grenada in October.

However, PM Dickon Mitchell told reporters that he is unaware of any investment summit between Grenada and Nigeria.

“I am not aware of any summit or investment summit planned between Grenada and Nigeria. It’s the first time I am hearing about it. I am not aware that the gentleman you have referred to has been appointed to any diplomatic position for Grenada. If he was, he would not have been appointed by this Government. If he has been appointed, he will certainly be recalled,” the Grenadian leader remarked.

One article was accompanied by a photo of PM Mitchell and Nwaneri shaking hands in front of the Grenada flag, which the Prime Minister said was taken during a recent courtesy call last week but he was not introduced as an ambassador.

“I met the gentleman last Monday evening. It was a courtesy call that he asked to pay me. He was accompanied by another Grenadian who was also appointed as a diplomat by the prior administration and when he made that courtesy call, he asked for a photo and the photo was given.

When I met the gentleman, I certainly was not under the impression nor did he convey to me that he had been appointed as any diplomat”

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell told reporters that he preferred not to name the former Grenadian diplomat who accompanied Nwaneri to meet with him.

The new Prime Minister disclosed that if the other person who accompanied the Nigerian held any diplomatic post from the former Keith Mitchell administration then he too will be recalled.

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