Members of the House of Representatives have drawn the attention of the federal government to the trend of Nigerians being illegally detained in prisons in foreign lands, and asked the Federal Government to secure their release.
This follows a motion raised by a lawmaker, Dennis Idahosa, on the need to ascertain the number of Nigerians detained in foreign prisons, during plenary on Thursday in the lower chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
In their resolution, they urged the Federal Government to intervene and secure the release of Nigerians being held illegally in prisons abroad.
The lawmakers also resolved to mandate the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice and Inter-Parliamentary Relations, to ensure compliance with the resolution reach.
Before the resolution, they noted that Nigerians were in almost all countries of the world, making exploits in sports, technology, business, education, and politics, and have been ranked as one of the highest educated immigrants in foreign countries.
They added that due to the large population of the Nigerian diaspora community, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) was established to provide for the engagement and participation of such persons in the development of the country.
In moving the motion, Idahosa drew the attention of his colleagues to the International Conventions and Treaties which prescribed that anyone charged with a criminal offence was entitled to a fair hearing, within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
According to him, the World Bank estimated remittances of around 24.3 billion per year and six per cent of the country’s GDP, thereby making Nigeria one of the highest-ranking countries of the world in remittances inflow.
“Cognisant that the remittances of Nigerians living abroad have been of significant impact in the development and economic growth of the country;
“Concerned about reports that many Nigerians are languishing in foreign prisons, some of whom are being illegally detained, while some are exposed to labour exploitation, poor living conditions, discrimination, sex exploitation and other forms of dehumanising treatments;
“Worried that from a 2019 survey report by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEPAD), about 16,500 Nigerians who are in prisons outside the country were convicted without legal representation and not knowing why they are in jail,” the lawmaker said.
Idahosa believes the Federal Government needs to employ diplomatic means to help Nigerians wrongly convicted and being detained in various prisons abroad.