New Telegraph

Investigating Alleged Killings, Imprisonment of Nigerians in Ethiopia

Following the scary trending news item that over 250 voice- less Nigerians have either been sent to their early graves, or languishing in the maximum Kaliti Prison of Ethiopia, as reflected in the related video clips that have gone viral the Senate has called for a thor- ough investigation and urgent action to be taken on the all- important issue. Indeed, we cannot but commend Dr. Paul Ezike, for calling on the Federal Government to intervene in the inhumanity and torture that not a few Nigerians are currently going through in Ethiopia.

That is coming out of the widespread information that he has started; to raise the much-needed awareness on the critical life-decimating in- justice, on Nigerians “without the commission of any crime”, as he reportedly stated. Not left out of our commendation are Senators Simon Mwadkwon and Victor Umeh, representing Plateau North and Anambra Central Senatorial Districts respectively, for their promptitude in moving the motion in this regard. While the former belongs to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the latter is a member of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and indication of the bipartisan support for the motion.

The motion: ‘Urgent need to investigate the unlawful killing and incarceration of over 250 Nigerians in Ethiopia’ has since attracted the attention of not only concerned fellow Nigerians but the international community. That is, on the urgent need to investigate what has really transpired and for justice to prevail. In this regard, the Senate has directed its Committee on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs to work with the Federal Government to immediately constitute to investigate the burning matter.

Furthermore, the Senate is asking the Federal Government to immediately direct the Ethiopian Embassy to collaborate with the delegation of the Senate Committee on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs to find lasting solutions to ugly incidents. Of course, that has become an imperative. It is on record that Favour Chizoba Eze was allegedly brutally beaten to death in the Ethiopian maximum prison by the officials on March 14, 2023. Subsequently, on March 30, the matter added a xenophobic colouration when only Nigerian inmates were singled out for similar beatings.

The security personnel who were the attackers alleged that the Nigerian-born in- mates were identified as those always complaining about the poor condition in the prison. In fact, due to the lack of safe drinking water, food as well as medical items they had sent Save-Our-Soul (SOS) messages to the then President Muhammadu Buhari, to ask for their transfer to Nigerian Correctional Centres to run out their terms of conviction. Most unfortunately, that cry for urgent help had not been answered before he left office.

The burning questions are therefore, tailored towards ensuring that the life of every Nigerian counts wherever such a person lives, anywhere in the world. Lest we forget, several innocent Nigerians have been on the receiving end of various attacks visited on them by the forces of xenophobia. In fact, some vicious attacks by South Africans against some Nigerian businessmen stand out as was well reported on September 19, 2019. Notably, 12 Nigerians lost their precious lives earlier that month, as a result of the spike in the hideous xenophobic brutality.

Such was the negative effect of the onslaught on the international relations that the Federal Government went beyond mere condemnation to recalling the then Nigeria’s ambassador to South Africa back home, dispatched a special envoy and stayed away from an international conference in Cape Town. In response, the South African government sent her envoy, Jeff Radebe, to apologise on its behalf before the then President Buhari.

That came soon after some concerned Nigerians and Ghanaians in Europe expressed their outrage over the recurring ugly decimals of the xenophobic attacks on their citizens in South Africa and blamed the African Union (AU) for not showing the expected concern on the issue. A similar situation should begin to play out as the Federal Government speeds up all efforts to investigate what led to the recent killings and incarceration of over 250 Nigerians in Ethiopia. Furthermore, the image of the country matters a lot.

Our entrepreneurs should not continue to be branded as a bunch of “criminal businessmen” as some South Africans erroneously labelled those whose shops they razed to rubles in Johannesburg back in 2019. The time has therefore come for a credible database of our citizens in the Diaspora to be at the disposal of all our embassies. And there should be a sustainable relationship between them and the office of the ambassadors, who should be well aware of the reasons for which they are in those countries and the trades they ply.

No reasons adduced by the Ethiopian prison officials can justify the inhuman treatment they have allegedly meted out to Nigerian inmates, as it is inexcusable to give a dog a bad name so as to hang it. The earlier the Federal Government investigates the matter to bring the conscienceless culprits to speedy justice, the better for our international relations.

Read Previous

Ronaldo Offered Means of Return To EPL Club

Read Next

Edo Police Arrest 25-Years-Old Suspected Kidnapper With UK Residence Permit