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Nigerian Prisoners In UK Reject Transfer Agreement

Caption: Dalhatu Tafida, Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK

Some Nigerians serving various jail terms in the UK have kicked against the recently signed Prisoner Transfer Agreement between Nigeria and British governments.

Nigeria and UK in December 2013 signed an agreement which will make it possible for prisoners to return home and complete their terms.

The agreement is yet to be ratified by parliaments of the two countries.

The Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Dalhatu Tafida, on Tuesday to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in London confirmed that many Nigerian prisoners in British jail do not like the deal.

Tafida said that some of the prisoners have expressed concern over returning to the country to complete their terms, citing poor prison facilities and stigma as main reasons.

While explaining the framework of the agreement, the envoy said that the prisoner transfer was not an automatic exercise whereby those in jail would return home immediately.

According to him, transfer will not be voluntarily but decided by both governments.

Also, Tafida said that there had been a decline in the number of Nigerians in jail across the UK.

“In 2008 when I assumed office, there were 800 Nigerians serving various terms; but today, the figure had dropped to about 390.”

He attributed the development to less crime, adding that “those who finished their term were released”.

“Similarly, those without papers are returning home voluntarily as life is tough here,” he stressed.

Tafida further said that as many as 40 people were usually repatriated monthly under the UK-Nigeria repatriation programme.

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