By Joy Odor
The International Human Right Commission (IHRC), has called on the attention of Federal Government of Nigeria to the oversight plight of foreigners languishing in Nigerian prison without formal trial.
The Country Head and Representative of IHRC, Ambassador Friday Sani be made the call in an interview shortly after the presentation of award of excellence to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama for his invaluable contribution to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria, as well as decorating him as the global human right champion of IHRC in Abuja Tuesday.
Ambassador Sani told the Minister that three Ukraine nationals arrested by Nigerian authority three years ago are still suffering in Nigerian Correctional Centre without trial.
According to him, “This is the reason why i put it clearly to Hon Minister that the way and manner foreign nationals are been treated in Nigeria will determine how Nigerians will be treated outside their own shores.
“I brought to fore the three Ukrainian citizens that are been detained in Nigeria for three years awaiting trial.
“I am very sure that the minister is disturbed by the report that i gave to him because i noticed that his countenance changed when i mentioned it and he may not like it but the truth be told, you cannot put a man under custody for three years without trial.
“This is the aspect that we at the International Human Right Commission cannot accept from any national government.
“It is true that when a foreigner commits an offence or ran fowl of the law, he should be arrested and prosecuted and we are not against that.
“What we are against is violation of rights of foreigners, therefore, Nigerian government need to do something about that so that her citizens abroad can also be treated with dignity in similar circumstance”.
While promising to provide face masks to all Nigerians as part of its contribution to the fight against the global pandemic, Ambassador Sani also presented some locally manufactured Personal Protective Equipments (PPE), to the minister.
In his respond, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama thanked the regional body for the award and support to the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the pandemic poses an existential threat to humanity, adding that Nigerian President has done extremely well in COVID-19 response.
The Minister said that federal government is giving priority attention to citizen diplomacy as it had already evacuated several hundreds of stranded Nigerians abroad during the lockdown put in place by most authorities to curtail the spread of the pandemic.
He appreciated Nigerian diplomats and staff of Nigerian foreign missions for their wonderful service to the nation.
While noting that Nigerian has an independent Human Right Commission, Onyeama explained that Nigeria’s continued support to International Criminal Court is a testament to the fact that Nigeria abhors human right violations.