FG yet to pay adequate attention to citizens detained abroad

Lagos – An NGO, United Nigerians in the Diaspora
(UNID), says the Federal Government and the
National Assembly have yet to meet their
responsibilities to Nigerians facing prison
sentences on trumped-up charges abroad.
UNID raised the concern as more Nigerians are
placed on the death row in some South-East
Asian countries, particularly Indonesia.
Their concern is also heightened by the United
Nations’ (UN) preparation for the periodic review
of the global illicit drug policy in 2016.
The organisation was formed to address youths’
challenges, providing succor to the downtrodden
as well as collaborating with the governments in
finding solutions to global and national social
malaise.
UNID President, Dr Paschal Okoli, made the
assertion in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Okoli said the development was due to the poor
diplomatic overtures by the Federal Government
and the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian missions
in the South-East Asian countries.
He added that the silence on the issue by the
National Assembly led to the recent killing of the
Nigerians in Indonesia.
He said that while the unwholesome venture of
Nigerians, especially youths in global drug
trafficking remained condemnable.
He noted that the government’s “quarantine
approach” to the plight Nigerians in some Asian
countries led to the placement of more of them on
the death row in Indonesia.
According to him, Nigerians are daily being
harassed, intimidated and falsely accused of drug
trafficking in Indonesia, Malaysia and other
South-East Asian countries because they are
aware that Nigerian government places no value
on her citizens.
“As we speak, a Nigerian recently lost his
manhood in Indonesia, for having the guts to
befriend an Indonesian lady, under the cover of
been a drug trafficker.
“Most prospering Nigerians homes in Indonesia
and Malaysia are daily raided on setup charges
by the local police and citizens without the
embassies intervening.
“The Federal Government must raise its voice in
the global campaign against drug trafficking,
production, use and against the killing of drug
offenders, especially Nigerians in some Asian
countries,’’ Okoli said.
He also urged the Federal government to demand
for full investigation into cases of Nigerians in
detentions, noting that Indonesia and Malaysia
had mounted clandestine global blackmail,
portraying Nigerians as criminals and drug
traffickers.
“The sudden rise of Nigerians in businesses,
especially export and retail business in Indonesia
and Malaysia among other South-East Asian
countries irks the locals who use blackmail to
hunt Nigerians.
“What baffles us is that while the nationals of
these countries are daily operating their
businesses in Nigeria without harassment,
Nigerians are being portrayed as criminals and
drug traffickers in their country.
“How do you react to the celebration by these
two countries in the international media of
Nigerians placed on death row?
“As a group of Nigerians with first class
information on the issues, we reject in totality the
portrayal and classification of Nigerians as drug
traffickers by Indonesia and Malaysia and the
continued nonchalance of Nigerian government to
the plight of detained citizens in these countries,”
Okoli said.
He also said that UNID’s concern remained to
draw government’s attention to real issues and
provide information on the plight of Nigerians in
most South-East Asian countries.
The UNID President demanded the overhaul and
investigation of Nigerians Embassies in Indonesia
and Malaysia following their nonchalant attitude
toward the plight of citizens on trumped-up cases
drug offenses.
He said the nonchalant attitude of Nigerian
embassies, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia
negated the very essence nationhood and
government social contract with the ordinary
Nigerians.
“In most cases when cases were brought to the
embassies’ attention, officials in the Nigerian
Embassies embolden the local security agencies
by classifying their citizens’ criminals without
investigation.
“Recently, in the case of Nigerians killed for drug
offences in Indonesia, Nigerians Embassy left
their corpses to rot, unlike other countries who
took full charge of their citizens’ corpses,” he
added.

He said that while the Federal Government’s
condemnation of global illicit drug trafficking,
production and use was commendable, it must
also be seen to be vigorously protecting the rights
of every citizen abroad.
He urged the government to inaugurate a national
body across the geo-political zones to enlighten
the people on the implications of illicit drug
trafficking and its reduction nationally and
globally.
“Our current focus on punishment by
imprisonment and death for drug offenders is
outdated and Nigeria needs to join forces with
others countries in championing the correction
through sustainable awareness campaign and
management of the nation’s drug problem,” he
said.
Okoli also commended the UN for the forthcoming
review of the subsisting global illicit drug laws.
He said the growth of international drug trafficking
and the attraction of youths toward the dangerous
trade called for a new advocacy based on
decriminalisation of drug trafficking, production,
sales and its use.
He canvassed for new drug advocacy to focus on
respect for human rights, decriminalisation,
proportionality of sentences, a developmental
approach to illicit production and an evidence-
based return to global rationality.
The subsisting global drug treaty, he said, was
plagued with inconsistencies and ambiguous
obstacles to international drug policy
improvements.
Available data from the United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and European crime-
fighting agency (Europol), the annual global drugs
trade is pegged at about $435 billion a year, with
annual cocaine trade worth $84 billion.
Globally, organised crime accounts for 1.5
percent of global gross domestic product and is
worth about $870 billion and drugs account for 50
per cent of international organised crime income.
– NAN

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