The House of Representatives has called for the identification and release of Nigerians imprisoned in other countries across the world.
The House particularly urged the Federal Government to “intervene and secure the release of Nigerians who are being detained illegally in prisons abroad,” while mandating the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice and Inter-Parliamentary Relations to ensure compliance with the resolution.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House unanimously adopted a motion moved by Mr Dennis Idahosa, which was titled, ‘Need to Ascertain the Number of Nigerian Citizens Being Detained in Foreign Prisons.’
Moving the motion, Idahosa noted that Nigerians are 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.
According to the lawmaker, due to the large population of Nigerians in the diaspora, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission was established to provide engagement and participation of Nigerians in the Diaspora in the development of Nigeria.
He also noted that the international conventions and treaties prescribe that anyone charged with a criminal offence is entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Idahosa stressed that the World Bank estimated remittances of around N24.3bn per year and 6 per cent of the country’s GDP, thereby making Nigeria one of the highest-ranking countries of the world in remittances inflow.
According to him, the remittances of Nigerians living abroad have been of significant impact in the development and economic growth of the country.
However, he said, “The House is 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 dehumanizing treatments.
“The House is worried that from a 2019 survey report by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, 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 House believes that the Federal Government needs to employ diplomatic means to assist Nigerians who were wrongly convicted and are being detained in various prisons abroad.”