FG gets 60 Nigerians out of Tanzania prisons

Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The Federal Government has concluded plans with Tanzanian authorities for the release of 60 out of the 73 Nigerians imprisoned in the country.

Spokesman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said in a statement on Wednesday that the Nigerians were imprisoned on different charges.

Mr Balogun said their repatriation was made possible by the Nigerian ambassador to Tanzania.

He said the Nigerian Mission had been working on repatriation of Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania before the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Ambassador, Dr Sahobi Gada, was in Nigeria in January 2020, specifically for this purpose after having successfully secured a release of 60 out of 73 Nigerians in various prisons in Tanzania. Arrangements were then being made by the ambassador for their repatriation,” the statement said.

The spokesman also noted that most of the convicts were arrested for alleged drug-related offences, while a few of the offences bordered on immigration law violations.

He explained that the mission had been visiting other custodial facilities in Tanzania to check other Nigerians who may be serving jail terms, adding that it had also canvassed for amnesty for the prisoners on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For each of the 73 Nigerians in the prison, the mission had paid 330, 000 shillings (N55,544) as court fees and was always represented in court. The mission had also successfully negotiated the repatriation of 60 prisoners,” Balogun said in the statement.