Posted by News Express | 26 April 2020 | 541 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has challenged the Federal Government to demonstrate beyond the shadows of doubts with facts, figures and names, and show Nigerians the 60 prisoners of Nigerian origin that were freed from prisons in Tanzania as it claimed.
HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian Government stated that it had successfully secured the release of 60 out of the 73 Nigerians imprisoned in Tanzania even as the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission affirmed through its Head, Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, that these Nigerians were imprisoned on different charges, says.
HURIWA recalled that the Commission stated that their repatriation was made possible by the Nigerian Ambassador to Tanzania just as in another breathe Mr. Balogun who disclosed this through a statement in Abuja on Wednesday April 22 noted that ever before COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian Mission had been working on repatriation of Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania.
HURIWA however accused the Nigerian Government of peddling what may turn out to be mere propaganda for whatever reason because, according to the rights group in a media statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, we got an intelligence report from an official of the Nigerian community in Tanzania who has spent cumulatively over 11 years living and working in the East African nation that till Friday April 24, there is no evidence that any of the Nigerians incarcerated in the Tanzanian prison have been freed.
“The informant called our attention to the publications in most Nigerian newspapers claiming that the Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Ms Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has secured, through the Ambassador of Nigeria in Tanzania, about 60 of the Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania. The source, who is one of the leaders of the Nigerian organised community, 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 may not want his name in print but he is honestly informing us to tell Nigerians that the news of the release of the Nigerian prisoners in Tanzania is not true as nobody has so far being freed since the names are only being compiled.”
HURIWA therefore urged the Nigerian media to demand from the head of the Diaspora Commission to show Nigerians the documentary evidence of the identities of the Nigerians released from the Prisons in Tanzania.
The rights group said it was the constitutional right of Nigerians in line with the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act of 2015 to be informed with backup evidence the identities of the Nigerians who as the government claimed were freed from the Prisons in Tanzania.
"HURIWA expects that the media, as the public vanguard and conscience of the nation in line with section 22 of the Nigerian constitution, should task Ms Dabiri to show us the empirical data of the prisoners the Nigerian government claimed to have released from the prisons in Tanzania.
“Government must be seen following to the letter the best global practices of openness, transparency and accountability. We will no longer allow government officials to bandy figures and seek to confuse gullible NIGERIANS to believe that the government cares about their wellbeing whether in or outside of the Nigerian space when the reality is far from this claims,” the rights group said.
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