24 February 2019

Nigeria: Torturing Nigerians Before Deportation Violates UN Convention - Envoy

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Nigeria and Ghana to talk over deportations.

Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, Amb. Michael Abikoye has taken a swipe at the Ghanaian authorities, cautioning them against what he termed as 'brutality against Nigerians 'before deporting them.

He pointed out that such act violates the United Nations Convention against torture.

The Envoy who was visibly angry with the inhuman treatment meted out to Nigerian made the point when the Nigerian Mission in Ghana took it's protests against the illegal deportation of 723 Nigerians to Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) boss, Kwame Takye.

He insisted that the deportation of 723 Nigerians between 2018 and 2019 for on account of illegal stay, cybercrime and prostitution is unacceptable .

He recalled that no fewer than 81 Nigerians were allegedly deported on grounds of their involvement inncybercrime and illegal stay in January, while another 115 have so far been deported in February alone, on the allegation of overstay and prostitution.

While cautioning against a repeat of the unacceptabletoryure before deportation, the High commissioner cautioned against any inhuman treatment to Nigerians by the Ghanaian government, warning that any form of torture or ill treatment of Nigerians would no longer be condone

He said, "though the High Commission would not condone any form of criminality on the part of Nigerians, inhuman treatment and alleged torture of some Nigerians in Ghana would not also be tolerated.

"Although the GIS had linked prostitution and cybercrimes as some of the reasons for the deportation, it is improper to deport Nigerians for alleged illegal stay in Ghana. he stated"

"There are several Ghanaians living in Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service has never deported any of them, because of the good neighbourliness and brotherliness that exists . The government should desist from these acts as it will only cause more harm than good".

The Ambassador therefore presented a copy of the Mission's records on deportations of Nigerians between January 2018 till date to the Ghanaian authorities.

He lqmented that Nigerians were not being fairly treated, stressing that there have been cases of molestation, harassment and torture of Nigerians by GIS officials, especially those awaiting deportation at detention facility.

He further proved his claims by also showed photos of some tormentef Nigerians waiting to be deported with various degrees of injuries on their legs, arms, eyes and other sensitive parts of their bodies as exhibit

He appealed to the CG to prevail on his officials , and warned to immediately halt the slave-like treatment meted out to Nigerians and other ECOWAS nationals . Treat them with human face and not as common criminals, he emphasised.

Abikoye also expressed displeasure over the long detention of Nigerians in the GIS custody after proper documentation and issuance of Emergency Travel Certificate for their reparation by the High Commission.

He appealed that considering the poor state of the GIS's facility, the Ghana Immigration Service should expedite action in their early reparation to Nigeria immediately after the issuance of Emergency Travel Certificates.

The CG acknowledged the existing bilateral relationship between the two countries and promised to look into the weighty allegations.

According to Takyi, the GIS were being compelled to carry out reparations due to the unsatisfactory conduct of some Nigerian nationals in Ghana.

He alleged that besides engaging in cybercrime and prostitution, "some Nigerians have become laws in themselves; they do road blockages in major Ghanaian streets where they drink, fight and stab each other"

He argued that, "This unruly behaviour" which contravenes the local laws in Ghana was largely responsible for the directive to arrests and eventual deport those found wanting as well as those who do not have the requisite immigration papers".

The CG however promised to investigate Nigeria's claim of torture .

He uttered the proof earlier tabled by the Nigeria Envoy by handing him a video of some Nigerians obstructing justice by preventing the official vehicle of the GIS the right of way after arresting a Nigerian in Kasoa area.

International affairs experts say, the incessant deportation of Nigerians and alleged inhuman treatment of some of them has once again stimulated the urgent need for the federal government to urgently fix a date for hosting of the Ghana and Nigeria Permanent Joint Commission meeting.

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