3 February 2013

Nigeria: Jonathan Begs Indonesia to Save Nigerians On Death Row

President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to President Susilo Yudhoyona of Indonesia to grant a stay of execution for Nigerians on death row in the Asian country.

President Jonathan met on Saturday with the Indonesian leader who is on a state visit to Nigeria.

Mr. Jonathan requested both nations to explore avenues for exchange of prisoners and legal assistance, while Nigerians convicted in the Indonesia are given a reprieve, according to the communiqué of the meeting.

"The two leaders noted, with concern, the increasing number of Nigerians in detention, jails and death rows in Indonesia for drug-related offences and financial crimes," the statement released by presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said.

"In that regard, the President of Nigeria appealed to his Indonesian counterpart for a stay of execution of those on death row while the two countries explore opportunities, for an agreement of exchange of prisoners and mutual legal assistance between the two countries."

Both Presidents reiterated that drug abuse and illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and their chemical precursors are to be strongly and effectively combated, Mr. Abati, said.

Hundreds of Nigerians are held in Indonesian jails, as with other Asian countries for drug-related offences.

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding to vigorously combat the trade.

The statement did not state whether the Indonesian leader, Mr. Yudhoyona, agreed to save the Nigerians.

The Indonesian president agreed to support Nigeria's candidature as a non-permanent member of UN Security Council for the period of 2014 to 2015, while Mr. Jonathan also agreed to support Indonesia's candidature for the period of 2015 to 2016.

Both leaders also agreed to support each other on basis of reciprocity in the re-election of Nigerian Kanayo Nwanze as President of IFAD and the candidature of Indonesian Mari Pangestu for the post of Director-General of World Trade Organization.

The two leaders also expressed their determination to encourage agricultural cooperation between both countries, especially in the areas of cocoa, palm oil, rubber plantations and revival of groundnut cultivation in Northern Nigeria.

In sports, the leaders agreed that while Nigeria will assist Indonesia in raising the standard of football, Indonesia will assist Nigeria in the development of the game of badminton.

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