Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted the alleged plight of Nigerian inmates in the Kaliti Prison in Ethiopia in a video by one Dr Paul Ezike, making the rounds on social media.
The ministry considered Dr Ezike’s narration as exaggerated and blown out of proportion as his assertion of inaction by the Nigerian Mission in Addis Ababa to the alleged plight of Nigerian inmates, is unfair and misleading.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli who dismissed these insinuations in a statement in Abuja yesterday, said there are over 270 Nigerian nationals serving various prison terms in Ethiopia.
Omayuli said, most of these Nigerians are incarcerated for drug related offences but the country’s Mission in Addis Ababa, as it with others world over, embarks on regular consular visits to these prisons to ascertain and attend to the wellbeing of Nigerian inmates, and in the same vein engage with host authorities on their behalf.
She said, the Ethiopian authorities on the other hand, have always maintained that Nigerian inmates are not treated differently from other inmates, Ethiopian inmates inclusive.
According to the Foreign Affairs spokesperson, resources and budgetary constraints, amid the growing number of inmates, often feature as the main challenge for the prison authorities.
“It is in this regard, that the Federal Government of Nigeria, in response to the demands of Nigerian inmates, is in the process of concluding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Transfer/Exchange of Prisoners with the Ethiopian Government.
“When finalised, this will enable Nigerian Inmates to complete their jail terms in Nigeria, where their family members could complement the government’s efforts towards their maintenance in prison. This will be particularly beneficial to inmates with underlying illnesses.
“For instance, information obtained by the Nigerian Mission in Addis Ababa from the Federal Prison Hospital, Kaliti regarding the death of Ms. Favour Chizoba on 12th March, 2023, revealed that she died of cardiac arrest, having had a history of hypertension and cardiac disease.
“Similarly, on the death of Mr. Joachim Uchenna Nwanneneme, a Nigerian inmate in the same Kaliti Prison on 22nd September, 2023, the official report indicated he died of kidney failure. He was previously diagnosed with tuberculosis, which according to the hospital officials, prompted his isolation,” Omayuli said.
She noted that there are reported cases of daily interceptions of drug traffickers and sadly Nigerians have been identified as major culprits, contributing to the undue profiling and ill-treatment of a few innocent Nigerians transiting the airport.
Omayuli said it was an exaggeration for Dr Ejike to claim that all holders of the Nigerian green passport are subjected to profiling at the Bole International Airport, which receives four commercial flights from Nigeria daily with over 2,000 passengers.