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Outcry over 1000 Nigerians in UK jails

Posted on Wednesday, 2 November 2011 09:43

A prominent Nigerian human rights lawyer has challenged a deal that will see over 1000 people from the West African country in British jails being sent back home saying it was illegal.

Nigeria and Britain agreed to allow Nigerians in UK jails to serve the rest of their terms in their home country.

Nigeria’s lower house of parliament, last month, approved the deal that will also see a refurbishment of the country’s prisons before the return of the prisoners.

But lawyer Femi Falana has written to the president of Nigeria’s senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives claiming the agreement was signed without considering legal implications.

“Without considering the legal implications of the deal and the interests of the Nigerian citizens involved, the federal government is reported to have reached an understanding with the British Government on the so-called Prisoner Exchange Agreement,” reads Falana’s letter in part.

He said President Goodluck Jonathan’s government “lacks the power to reduce Nigeria to a dumping ground for foreign convicts from the United Kingdom or from any other foreign country”.

Falana also said the agreement also violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The west African country’s Senate is yet to pass the proposal into law.

The deal, a UK plan, which was drawn in a bid to free up prison spaces and save the British “taxpayer money on enforced removals”, would see Nigerian convicts being sent home without their consent.

Under the deal, Nigerians imprisoned in the UK would serve their sentences in their own countries while British nationals would be sent back to their country to finish their sentences.

Falana’s protest letter came hard on the heals that an organisation known as the Centre for Victims of Extra–Judicial Killing and Torture (CVEKT Africa), wanted the same deal between Czech Republic and Nigeria.

According to CVEKT Africa, over 120 Nigerians currently serving jail terms in Czech Republic were being ill-treated.

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