VIDEO: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri refused to STAND UP as Nigerian National Anthem was being played during a US Event at the Grand Hyatt, New York, United States. She sat down as other Nigerians proudly stood up in respect of the National Anthem. They call on us to be patriotic but see themselves as LORD AND MASTER not just over Nigerians but do see the country as being beneath them. Viola Onwuliri, was heckled OCCUPY NIGERIA activists in New York
Efforts by the Consul General in New York, Mr. Habib Baba Habu, to plead with the protesters failed as they insisted that every Nigerian should be ashamed of the state of the nation and demanded that the minister and her entourage should stay at home and do the right thing for the nation.
The protest, which lasted for close to two hours, later attracted a team of officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD), who came into the hall to ensure that the situation did not degenerate.
Shortly after their arrival, the situation was brought under control as the the protesters walked out of the hall, with some of them explaining the situation in Nigeria to the NYPD officers.
The meeting however proceeded at about 9pm with the former Ambassador to Austria, Jerry Ugowke, who was on the minister's entourage, pleading with the people to pardon their late arrival and attributed it to flight delay and the high traffic from the airport to the hotel.
He said the protesters were not wrong for expressing their displeasure with the state of the nation, but added that they should have allowed the meeting to proceed after a while so that others could also have opportunity to express their opinion on the state of the nation.
In her own remarks, Onwuliri said as a mother and grand mother, she understood the pains of young Nigerians who are dissatisfied with the state of the nation.
She added that as a former member of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), she was not new to protest, and could also be described as an activist for good governance, though now in government.
She pleaded with Nigerians in US to give President Goodluck Jonathan a chance to bring Nigeria out of the woods, arguing that only constructive criticisms and popular support could help the present administration succeed in tackling the problems confronting the nation.
She said she was in US to feel the pulse of the people and to also brief them on the situation at home, adding that she would return home to brief the President on how they felt and the suggestions offered.
The minister and Ugokwe later took time to respond to the plethora of questions asked by the participants. (Thisday-Nigeria)