The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Wednesday, promised that the Federal Government would look into the cases of 27 Nigerians languishing in Tanzania prisons without trial.
Dabiri-Erewa made the promise when a former Chairman of the Law Society Charity Organisation, Nigel Doddy, brought the matter to her attention during a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Doddy, who is from the United Kingdom and had visited Tanzanian prisons, had urged the Nigerian government to step in and ensure that the Nigerians got justice.
The presidential aide promised that the government would ensure that justice was done.
“We will look at these matters and ensure that justice is done quickly,” she promised.
She assured her guest that the new Nigeria High Commissioner in Tanzania would be on top of the issues.
She also appealed to Nigerians wherever they go to continue to remain good ambassadors of the country.
In bringing the case to Dabiri-Erewa’s attention, Doddy said, “I am here to follow up on some reports I gathered in Tanzania two years ago, concerning Nigerians being detained without trial.
“I was able to identify 27 Nigerians who were detained at the time without trial.
“Importantly, at least four of them remain detained today. The problem is detention without trial. I am not concerned about whether they are guilty or innocent, what I am concerned about is that they should be taken to courts for trial.
“The delays provide opportunities for evidence to get lost or stolen.”
He alleged that Tanzanian lawyers had been extorting the Nigerian prisoners without doing anything for them.
Doddy added that the other issue that concerned him was the humanitarian matter concerning Nigerians in Tanzania.
According to him, he was able to identify three humanitarian cases.
He said, “The first was a pastor being detained for immigration reasons, awaiting deportation back to Nigeria. For six to eight months, this has not been done.
“Most seriously, a youth who also has immigration issues and in a mental hospital was sent to prison. He has been there for several months, and I think the Nigerian High Commissioner should take action to secure his return to Nigeria
“The third humanitarian issue is a Nigerian woman who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, clearly guilty. She should be repatriated to Nigeria to serve her sentence here.”
He also alleged of rampant stereotype issues against any Nigerian entering Tanzania.
While noting that diplomatic missions couldn’t interfere with judicial processes of other countries, he said that they could mount pressure on officials of the country to respect their own rules.
For the woman sentenced to life imprisonment in Tanzania, however, Dabiri-Erewa said nothing could be done in her case since there is no transfer treaty between Nigeria and Tanzania.