FG Pays 23m Shillings for Release of 60 Nigerians from Tanzanian Prisons

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The federal government has said it has paid a total of 23,090,000 to secure the release of 60 Nigerians serving various jail terms in Tanzania.

The Head of Media and Public and Relations Unit of the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun, in a statement issued yesterday said that most of them were arrested for alleged drug related offences, while a few of the offences bothered on immigration.

He explained that ever before COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian mission had been working on repatriation of Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania, adding that the Nigeria Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr. Sahobi Gada was in Nigeria in January 2020, having successfully secured the release of 60, out of 73 Nigerians, in various prisons in Tanzania.

He noted that arrangements were then being made by the Ambassador for their repatriation.

Balogun stressed that despite securing repatriation for 60 out of the 73, the mission sent a team out to ascertain if there were more Nigerians in Tanzanian prisons.

He stated: “While the mission has joined other countries in making a plea for amnesty for Prisoners during this COVID- 19 period, the mission remains optimistic the Tanzanian Government would respond positively , while the mission will continue to work on repatriation, which was affected as a result of Covid-19.

“For each of the 73 Nigerians in the prison, the mission had paid 330, 000 shillings as court fees for each of the them, and was always represented in court. The mission had also successfully negotiated repatriation for 60 prisoners.”

Balogun however reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the welfare of Nigerians, while also appealing to Nigerians to obey the laws of other countries and be good ambassadors wherever they live.