OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has urged the federal government to intervene and secure the release of Nigerians detained illegally in prisons abroad.

The lawmakers further expressed their displeasure with the over 16,500 Nigerians held in different prisons outside the country, most of whom are without legal representation and not knowing why they were in jail.

The House also urged the federal government to employ diplomatic means to assist Nigerians detained illegally due to wrongful convictions and detained in various prisons abroad.

The resolutions and concerns were reached on Thursday during the plenary, followed by a motion sponsored by Denis Idahosa from Edo State (APC).

He explained that “Nigerians citizens are in almost all countries of the world. They are making exploits in sports, technology, business, education and politics and have been ranked as one of the highest educated immigrants in foreign countries. Due to the large population of Nigerians in diaspora, the Nigerians Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) was established to provide for the engagement and preoccupation of their development.”

He also pointed that the International Conventions and Treaties prescribe that anyone charged with a criminal offence is entitled to a fair hearing. Such fear hearing should be within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.

Again, he explained that the World Bank estimated remittances of around 243 billion per year and 6% of the country’s GDP, thereby it makes Nigeria one of the highest-ranking countries of the work in remittances inflow.

“The remittances of Nigerians living abroad have been of significant impact in the country’s development and economic growth, hence the reports that many Nigerians are languishing in foreign prisons. Some are Nigerians detained illegally, while some are exposed to labour exploitation, poor living conditions, discrimination, sexual exploitation and other forms of dehumanizing treatments.

“The 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 motion was passed when the presiding officer, Deputy Speaker Idris Wase, put it to vote before the House.

The Committees on Foreign Affairs, Justice and Inter-Parliamentary Relations and diaspora were likewise mandated to ensure compliance.

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