24 January 2013

Nigeria: '1,000 Nigerians in Egyptian Prisons'

Over 1000 Nigerian footballers and students who left Nigeria in search of greener pastures in Europe and the Middle East are now languishing in Egyptian prisons, the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora heard in Abuja yesterday.

A 53-year-old Nigerian, who spent 21 years in a Cairo prison, Mr. Ganiyu Shola, told the Rep. Abike Dabiri-Erewa-led committee yesterday when he appeared before the committee.

He narrated the gloomy picture of how young Nigerians were being lured into leaving home by human traffickers only to be abandoned in Egypt.

Shola blamed officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Cairo for not leaving up to expectations and for failing to approach the Egyptian authorities to secure their release.

He said currently, there are four Nigerians who have spent between 21 to 23 years in the Cairo prison and were convicted without legal representation.

"Human traffickers lured them to go to Israel from Egypt and hundreds of them between the ages of 16-20 have died while crossing the border to Israel. They are adventurers footballers, students and commercial sex workers,"

He called on the Federal Government to secure their release because they usually get stranded and the Egyptian police would arrest them and throw them into the prisons.

Rep. Dabiri-Erewa promised to intervene in the matter.

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