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FG sends protest letter to Italy over hurried burial of 26 migrants

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The Nigerian government says the burial of the 26 female Nigerian migrants who died in the Mediterranean Sea was hasty, especially as postmortem examination was not carried out to actually determine what led to their deaths.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Matters, said this on Monday during an interaction with journalists.

Dabiri-Erewa wondered why the Italian Government would conduct a funeral for the deceased Migrants nine days earlier than the date it communicated to the Nigerian government.

She said the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) was informed that the burial would take place on November 26, 2017, only for the burial to be carried out on November 17.

She said that a protest letter had been sent to the Italian envoy in Nigeria over the matter.

“Why were they (the bodies) hurriedly buried nine days before the date communicated to the DG, NAPTIP by the Italian Embassy without any information to Nigerian Government?” Dabiri-Erewa queried?

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“Why the rush to bury the bodies without carrying out post-mortem to determine the causes of death?”

Dabiri-Erewa further said that out of the 26 migrants that were buried, only three had been properly identified as Nigerians. Others were yet to be identified before they were interred.

She said families of the deceased migrants may have wanted them buried in their countries of origin.

Dabiri condemned the worsening migrant situation in Africa where people are reportedly auctioned for as low as $400 in Libya.

“This is totally unacceptable, despicable, and inhuman and should be condemned by anyone who is human and has blood running through their veins,” she said.

“The perpetrators of this heinous crime should also be sanctioned.”

She called on the African Union, European Union, United Nations High Commission for Refugees, International Organization on Migration and the Economic Community for West African States to tackle the menace of migrants trading in Libya and other parts of Africa and the world.

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