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Over 2,000 Nigerians Are In Prisons Abroad – Confab Committee

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The National Conference Committee on Foreign
Affairs and Diaspora Matters said on Tuesday that
no fewer than 2,048 Nigerians are serving various
jail terms abroad.
The committee, headed by former Under-
Secretary General of UN, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari,
said this in its report to the conference.
He said that more than 752 Nigerians were
serving various terms in British prisons, while
another 700 were currently in China and 500 in
India prisons.
The committee stated that 96 Nigerians were in
jail in Indonesia out of which 23 had been on
death row.
The report recalled that the British Prime Minister,
David Cameron, had proposed that Nigerian
prisoners in Britain should be repatriated in a
prisoner exchange programme.
“We noted that it is the duty of Nigeria to protect
and defend the interests of its nationals wherever
they are (even in prison).
“The extent to which it can engage in prisoner
exchange is very limited.
“This is given the fact that its hands are full and
the state of prisons could not be compared to the
international standards.
“Nonetheless, the committee recommends that
where it is established that a prisoner serving in a
foreign jail is a Nigerian, he or she deserves a
prisoner swap or exchange,” it stated.
The committee recommended that Nigerian
prisoners serving outside the country could be
repatriated home to complete their jail terms.
It, however, said those willing to return home to
complete their jail terms must be screened to
ascertain whether they were actually Nigerians or
not.
“In light of revealing cases of foreign convicts
bearing Nigerian passports in foreign jails, it is
necessary to fully screen such to affirm the claim
before any prisoner exchange is undertaken.”
The committee noted the hard work of Nigerians
in Diaspora, which it said, remitted about 22
billion dollars and 21 billion dollars in 2012 and
2013 respectively to Nigeria.
It explained that the remittances represented a
sizeable percentage of foreign transactions,
investments, and charitable donations of medical
equipment and year-round medical missions to
support healthcare delivery in the country.
NAN reports that Gambari, while presenting the
report, said Nigerian professionals and
businessmen abroad had the capacity and were
willing to contribute significantly to the
socioeconomic development of Nigeria.
He, however, noted that the country must
establish the appropriate platform to tap into
these enormous resources.
He added that tapping the enormous financial
and human resources available in Diaspora would
be of tremendous benefit to the citizens both at
home and abroad.
The former UN envoy urged Nigerians to stop
insulting their country abroad, saying it was
wrong for Nigerians to take their grievances
abroad.
The committee’s report, which is being debated
by delegates, is the 15th out of 20 to be
presented, while it is expected to be adopted
after the debate.
NAN

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