23 October 2012

Nigeria: Dabiri-Erewa Condemns Deportation of Nigerian Fishermen From Gabon

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs has criticised the illegal and inhuman deportation of 215 Nigerian fishermen from the Republic of Gabon back to Nigeria.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, the lawmaker condemned the act, describing it as "unwarranted hostilities against Nigerians by the Gabonese government".

Apparently furious about the inhuman treatment meted to Nigerians by a sister nation, Dabiri-Erewa described the action of Gabonese government as "insensitive and unAfrican".

The lawmaker said that she was not against deportation of any Nigerians who run foul of the law of the host country but "definitely not those doing legitimate business".

She said reports had it that those deported were involved in legitimate businesses in the country, wondering why such people should be humiliated having lived in Gabon for decades and contributed to the socio-economy development of that country.

Dabiri-Erewa called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to look into the matter urgently and rehabilitate those affected with human dignity in line with its citizens diplomacy policy.

The lawmaker also called on NEMA to ensure that the deportees were well rehabilitated and taken care of pending the resolution of the matter.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Sunday night evacuated 215 Nigerian fishermen from the Republic of Gabon back to Nigeria. NEMA said the evacuation was implimented after the Gabonese authorities issued an eviction notice to Nigerian fishermen.

It said the affected fishermen lived in Nende, Mouka and Kenza Islands and were told to move away even though majority of them had lived there for several decades doing their legitimate businesses.

NEMA said the distressed returnees who are mostly from Bayelsa State and few from Ondo, Akwa Ibom, Imo and Abia States were flown to Port-Harcourt International Airport before their onward journey to their respective home states.

It would be recalled that the fishermen had signified their willingness to be reunited with their families after the eviction notice.

Before the execution of the evacuation process, NEMA said the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies had undertaken on-the-spot-assessment of the situation before a chartered aircraft was deployed for the evacuation.

In an effort to ensure full rehabilitation of the distressed Nigerians and to protect their belongings NEMA promised to also ship their outboard engines, fishing nets and other working tools to Nigeria.

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