The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to concerns raised regarding Nigerian inmates serving prison terms in Ethiopia.
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that over 270 Nigerian nationals find themselves incarcerated in Ethiopian prisons, with most of them imprisoned for drug-related offenses.
The issue gained attention after a viral video by Dr. Paul Ezike highlighted the alleged mistreatment of Nigerian inmates in Kaliti Prison, Ethiopia.
However, the ministry has deemed Dr. Ezike’s narration as exaggerated and unfair to the Nigerian Mission in Addis Ababa, emphasizing that they regularly visit these prisons to ensure the well-being of the inmates.
According to spokesperson Francisca Omayuli, Ethiopian authorities maintain that Nigerian inmates are not treated differently from other prisoners, citing resource constraints as a significant challenge.
In response to the inmates’ demands, the Federal Government of Nigeria is in the process of finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding on the Transfer/Exchange of Prisoners with the Ethiopian Government.
This agreement would enable Nigerian inmates to complete their sentences in Nigeria, where family support can be provided, especially to those with underlying illnesses.
The Federal Government has repeatedly called on Nigerians involved in transnational organized crimes, such as drug and human trafficking, to cease such activities that not only lead to imprisonment but also tarnish the country’s image and subject innocent citizens to undue profiling abroad.
Ethiopia’s Bole International Airport, a major transit hub, experiences a high volume of passengers and cargo daily, with reported interceptions of drug traffickers, among whom Nigerians have been identified as significant culprits.
The Nigerian Mission in Addis Ababa will continue to work with Ethiopian authorities to address issues in bilateral relations stemming from the actions of a few individuals.
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