The Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the Federal Government to show 60 Nigerian prisoners freed from Tanzanian prisons, as claimed by the government.
HURIWA recalled the government said it successfully secured the release of 60 out of the 73 Nigerians imprisoned in Tanzania, even as government affirmed that these Nigerians were imprisoned on different charges, according to the Head, Media and Public Relations Unit, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, Mr. Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
It said the Commission’s spokesman stated that their repatriation was made possible by the Nigerian ambassador to Tanzania.
HURIWA quoted the media, as saying that Balogun said: “The Ambassador, Dr. Sahobi Gada, was in Nigeria in January 2020, specifically for this purpose, after having successfully secured a release of 60 out of 73 Nigerians in various prisons in Tanzania. Arrangements were then being made by the Ambassador for their repatriation.
“The rights group in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, accused Nigerian government of peddling what might turn out to be mere propaganda.
HURIWA said: “We got an intelligence report from an official of the Nigerian community in Tanzania, who has spent over 11 years and working in the East African nation, that till yesterday (Friday), there was no evidence that any of the Nigerians incarcerated in the Tanzanian prison has been freed.
“The informant drew our attention to the publications in Nigerian newspapers, claiming that the Chairman of the National Commission in charge of Diaspora Affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa had secured through the Ambassador of Nigeria in Tanzania about 60 of the Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania.
“The source said it was only on Thursday that the Nigerian Embassy in Tanzania asked his officials to forward the names of Nigerians serving time in the Tanzanian prison.
“The source told us that although he would not want his name in print, but he was informing us to tell Nigerians that the news of the release of the Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania was not true, as nobody has been freed since the names were compiled… “