Delegates at the ongoing national conference were shocked to learn on Tuesday that there were more than 752 Nigerians languishing in British jails.
Apart from this, they were also informed that about 700 Nigerians are also currently serving various jail terms in China; 500 in India and 96 in Indonesia out of which 23 had been on death row.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, headed by a former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, stated this in its report, which was presented to the conference.
The committee stated this while discussing on whether Nigerians prisoners serving outside the country could be repatriated home to complete their jail terms.
The report said, “It is alleged that, not long ago, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, proposed that Nigerian prisoners serving jail in Britain be repatriated to Nigeria in a prisoner exchange programme.
“It is alleged that there are over 752 Nigerians in British jails about 700 in China; 500 in India and 96 in Indonesia as at 2012(23 of whom were on death row).
“The committee notes that while 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, given the fact that it has its hands full even now and the state of prisons is not at par with international standards, is very limited.
“Nonetheless, the committee recommends that where it is established that a prisoner serving in a Fleming hail is a Nigerian, he or she deserves a prisoner swap or exchange.”
The report however said those willing to return home to complete their jail term must be screened in order to ascertain whether they are actually Nigerians or not.
“In light of some revealing cases of foreign convicts bearing Nigerian passports in fleeing jails, it is necessary to fully screen any prisoner who purports to be a Nigerian before any prisoner exchange is undertaken,” the report said.
The report also said Nigerians in diaspora remitted about $22billion and $21 billion in 2012 and 2013, respectively, to Nigeria.
These remittances, the committee said, 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.
Agboola, while presenting the report, said the committee was informed that Nigeria professionals and businessmen in the diaspora have the capacity and were willing to contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of Nigeria if the country establishes 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 Nigerians both at home and abroad.
Agboola asked Nigerians to stop insulting their country abroad, adding that it would be wrong for Nigerians to carry their grievances to the foreign land and be abusing their country.
The committee, he said, recommended the successful dealing with the current security challenges, and advocated the using of movies, fashion and Nigerian music as well as religion to promote the positive image of Nigeria.
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