MEMBERS of the House of Representatives, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to intervene and secure the release of Nigerians being held illegally in prisons abroad.
The House made the call after the lawmaker representing Ovia South West/North East constituency Dennis Idahosa raised a motion on the need to ascertain the number of Nigerians detained in foreign prisons.
Idahosa drew the attention of his colleagues to the International Conventions and Treaties which prescribed that anyone charged with a criminal offense was entitled to a fair hearing, within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
He said he was concerned about reports that many Nigerians were languishing in foreign prisons, some of whom were being illegally detained.
He argued that others were exposed to labor exploitation, poor living conditions, discrimination, sex exploitation, and other forms of dehumanising treatments.
“From a 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 lawmaker said.
Idahosa urged the Federal Government to employ diplomatic means to assist Nigerians wrongly convicted and detained in various prisons abroad, saying that diaspora Nigerians had been instrumental in growing the Nigerian economy.
At the end of his motion, the lawmakers resolved to mandate the House committees on foreign affairs, justice, and inter-parliamentary relations to ensure compliance with the resolution reached.
They noted that Nigerians were in almost all countries of the world, making exploits in sports, technology, business, education, and politics, and had been ranked as some of the highest educated immigrants in foreign countries.