Juliet Akoje in Abuja
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar and the Chairman, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri to brief them on the preventive measures taken to protect Nigerians and air travelers to Addis Ababa.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the Need to Investigate Alleged Victimisation and Maltreatment of Nigerians in Addis Ababa, Ethopia: Hon. Kingsley Chinda at plenary yesterday.
Other co-sponsors were Hon. Abdussamad Dasukki, Hon. Laori Kwamoti Bittrus, Hon. Aliyu Madaki, Hon. Unyime Idem, Hon. Nkwonta Chris, Hon. Abbas Adogun, Hon. Kabiru Ahmadu, Hon. Ibe O. Osonwa, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, and Hon. Kelechi Nwogu.
Chinda, while presenting the motion noted the alleged incidence of victimisation, maltreatment and forced imprisonment of Nigerians, including air travelers, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He noted that one Dr. Paul Ezike in a “save our soul message” sought help at the instance of a Nigerian allegedly arrested and put in Ethiopian prison.
He further noted that some Nigerians were currently serving at the Chaota Maximum Security and other prisons in Ethiopia most of whom were travelers that used the Ethiopian Airport as a transit point but were indiscriminately arrested, taken to the hospital and forcefully injected with some substances and later taken to the prison facilities.
“Nigerians in Addis Ababa and all over the world and their air travelers should be protected and should be accorded the same protection Nigeria gives to foreigners, who live in Nigeria,” he said.
The lawmaker stated that 250 Nigerians were currently serving prison terms in Ethiopia as a result of frequent attack and may die in prison, if urgent steps were not taken to save them.
“These Nigerians are not only poorly treated, but are also subjected to very agonising conditions, poor feeding and without medication,” he said.
He recalled that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) joined the rest of Africa to sign a remarkable Trade Agreement for the continent and the fact that Nigerians are industrious entrepreneurs and had spent years transacting business in Addis Ababa and air travelers contributing to their economy.
“If earlier interventions and diplomatic measures are not taken by the Nigerian government to check the incessant attacks on Nigerian in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and air travelers would be at risk,” he stressed.