Recent reports from a Consular and Immigration Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has it that no fewer than 15,316 Nigerians are in several prisons abroad, with a largest series of 752 in a UK.
In curtailing a scourge, a Prisoner Repatriation Agreement was mooted, though a doubt remains; will it work? KEHINDE OSASONA asks?
Concept of a agreement As partial of a measures to decongest a packed prisons, a British Government, had years ago, approached a sovereign supervision for a bargain to repatriate a over 1,000 Nigerian adults in British prisons to offer out their sentences in Nigerian prisons.
This was finished but any care of a authorised implications and a interests of a Nigerian adults endangered in a deal.
As it were, a sovereign supervision is reported to have reached an bargain with a British Government and other meddlesome countries on a much-touted Prisoner Exchange Agreement.
Legislation upheld Consequently, legislation permitting Nigeria to enter into Prisoner Repatriation Agreement was eventually upheld by a Nigerian Parliament amidst controversies and authorised threats by stakeholders.
This came opposite a backdrop of several complaints by unfamiliar countries and generally a United Kingdom that Britain’s possess jail complement has been display signs of serious aria in new years.
They disagree that incidences such as overcrowding, rising self-murder rates, flourishing problem with drug trafficking and other crimes within jails built in a Victorian epoch have taken a fee on a prisons.
The concerns Tying behind to 2010, David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister, had affianced to privately meddle to send some-more unfamiliar criminals home.
Again, in Apr 2013, he validated his statement, and said, “When people are sent to jail in a UK, we should do all we can to make certain that if they’re unfamiliar nationals, they are sent behind to their countries to offer their judgment in a unfamiliar prison.
” As Cameron forked out, there are a lot of prisoners in UK entrance from Nigeria, Jamaica and Asia.
In his opinion, all probable should be finished to pointer restrained send agreements with their countries, even if it is required to yield assistance with jails building.
According to him, “The UK is now operative with a influenced countries on a content of a final agreement.
” He celebrated that vital stumbling retard to deportation of unfamiliar nationals in a past has been a condition of prisons in their possess countries, observant that a UK has betrothed to yield £1million (N250 million) to Nigeria in sequence to assistance a nation urge a state of a jails.
Also, former UK’s Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright was quoted as observant a nation was on a verge of repatriating 267 Nigerian Prisoners that is about half of a 534 Nigerians now in UK prisons.
He said: “I am transparent that some-more unfamiliar prisoners contingency offer their sentences in their possess countries.
That is given we are now operative with a Nigerian Government on a mandatory restrained send agreement to boost a series of prisoners who are transferred.
” Matters outset In 2017, a Nigerian supervision hinted on probable moves to repatriate a prisoners from China.
The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoff rey Onyeama, done a avowal during a news discussion while disorder out some of a achievements of a Buhari administration.
He said, “thousands of Nigerians are being hold behind bars in China for several offences, including those attracting genocide sentences.
“The prisoners recover could not be facilitated given there was no existent agreement between Nigeria and China on send of prisoners.
“The emanate of Nigerians in prisons in China is something we are traffic with and a restrained send agreement is something we have to have an agreement on with China “There are common agreements that we have with some countries, and positively we do try in those countries to convince them to send these prisoners back.
But a lot of them are there for collateral offences.
” On Nigerian prisoners in China Explaining given many Nigerians are in Chinese prisons, Nigeria attach� in China, Wale Oloko, pronounced many Nigerians were in several prisons in Guangdong range for overstaying their visas, adding that other Nigerians were also arrested for enchanting in drug trafficking and other rapist offences.
According to him, there are now about 600 Nigerians arrested for overstaying their visas and in apprehension for other offences.
“There is no doubt that there are now a series of Nigerians in several Chinese prisons, during slightest those underneath a consular office in Guangzhou.
“Our nationals are in opposite Chinese prisons for several offences.
There are those that were arrested for overstaying their visas, while others were convicted for drug trafficking and other offences and they are now being prepared for deportation to Nigeria.
” In 2013, there was a explanation that infancy of Nigerian prisoners in a Asian-pacific segment were detained for drug-trafficking associated offences.
Accordingly, a figure shows an boost of some-more than 6,000 over a central figure published by a method in Jun 2013.
Nigeria, Thailand determine It was also learnt that Nigeria and Thailand had implemented a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA), that has seen a repatriation of about 400 Nigerian prisoners given 2008.
Similarly, in 2014, a Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Fulvius Rusticu hinted that Nigeria and Italy would shortly interpretation negotiations on a PTA to promote a lapse of over 700 Nigerian prisoners portion in several prisons The envoy explained that underneath a agreement, Nigerian prisoners who validate for a send would be returned home to finish their jail terms.
“Each nation is obliged for a prisons; a proof in signing a PTA is that we consider that it is improved for Nigerians and even Italians to offer their terms during home.
” Challenging a constitutionality and effect Meanwhile, while a discuss lasted, authorised practitioners in Nigeria plainly differed on a emanate and gave a anomalous view.
Firing a initial salvo, Lagos Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana (SAN), was quoted as observant that a tellurian rights village would plea a sovereign supervision if any restrained repatriation programme was implemented in a country.
Falana forked out that a programme, that would capacitate Nigerians portion sentences in unfamiliar prisons to be repatriated to a nation to finish their jail terms, would transgress a prisoners’ rights to personal liberty.
He remarkable that a National Assembly had enacted a law to promote a repatriation of Nigerian prisoners from a United Kingdom and other places, adding that lawyers were prepared to plea a law in court.
“As distant as a law is concerned, usually a chairman who has committed an corruption in Nigeria can be attempted in Nigeria, jailed in Nigeria and certified into a prisons.
“As shortly as a law is published, we can assure we that those of us in a tellurian rights village will plea it”, Falana said.
Echoing a opposite tune, a tellurian rights organisation, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), had progressing called on a sovereign supervision to boost a efforts in fighting for Nigerians on in prisons and genocide quarrel in unfamiliar countries.
The organization pronounced during slightest 300 Nigerians were now on genocide quarrel in prisons opposite Asian countries given 2016.
It also suggested that 120 Nigerians faced a prospects of genocide in Chinese prisons, and over 170 in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and 5 in Qatar, United Arab Emirate and Saudi Arabia.
“With honour to a genocide row, in cases where Nigerians have been condemned to death, we have always intervened to ask for commutation of a genocide sentence.
“You can have agreements where we can have prisoners exchanges or we can have some mechanisms for after a restrained has served a certain volume of their sentence.
They could come behind to their nation to offer a rest,” he said.
British’s support As partial of a bargain and agreement between Nigeria and Britain, a latter has promised, by a Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in London recently to build 112-bed wing in Kirikiri Prison in Lagos so that it can send Nigerian prisoners there.
The plan is approaching to be saved from Britain’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, that has an annual bill of some-more than 1 billion In their estimation, a new 112- bed wing, that will cost 700,000 pounds ($973,000) and be agreeable with United Nations standards, will make it easier for Britain to approve with a restrained send agreement it sealed with Nigeria in 2014.