by Leke Baiyewu
The Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has said 456 Nigerians may continue to languish in Brazilian jails, if the government does not have a bilateral agreement with the country.
In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Dabiri-Erewa said about 100 Nigerians were also in detention in Ukraine for various allegations, adding that the country had called on Nigeria for their repatriation but this has not taken place.
The ex-broadcaster added that Brazil had invited Nigeria to sign a repatriation treaty with it since 2009 but that Nigeria was yet to respond due to its lackadaisical attitude towards protecting the rights of its citizens.
Dabiri-Erewa, who was in Brazil recently on a fact-finding mission, stated that a 72-year-old grandmother, Fausat Aosede, 13 women and 443 other Nigerians languished in Brazilian jail for drug-related offences.
“The Nigerians may stay longer in jail because Nigeria does not have a repatriation agreement with Brazil. The country sent a document to facilitate the agreement in 2009 but it is still awaiting a response from Nigeria. Should Nigeria have an agreement with Brazil, their release will be sped up.”
The lawmaker however said Aosede, who was in Brazil for medical treatment and was later held for drug trafficking, would be repatriated as the Brazilian law disallowed detention of persons over 70.
On the fate of others, Dabiri-Erewa said, “We need to have a roundtable discussion with Brazil and sign an agreement before we can repatriate our people who are either serving jail terms in detention or on trial for various offences. It all depends on how seriously Nigeria takes the issue.”
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