One of the Nigerian High Commission representatives has met Meghalaya Prison Minister AL Hek seeking his interference for the release of a total number of 12 of its nationals who were arrested for illegally crossing into India via Bangladesh. Betrand Tochukwu Ikwuka,who was deputed by the Nigerian High commission told on Wednesday that the arrested Nigerians are in prisons in Meghalaya even after completing their 6 month jail terms. Out of these 12 nationals 6 of them are in Shillong and 6 are in Jowai district prisons.
These Nigerian nationals were suspected to have crossed over to the country via the Indo-Bangladesh border illegally and were arrested from a village close to the international border in Meghalaya West Jaintia Hills district as per the police. Some among them were arrested at the end of 2019. Assistant Inspector of Police Gabriel K Inangrai had said the Nigerian nationals crossed over from Bangladesh without any valid documents. The African nationals were accompanied by locals too who were helping them and also got arrested as well for interrogation.
Nigerian deputed person Ikwuka, told PTI, “more than 8 months have passed since Marchand our friends are still languishing in jails here,we are waiting for orders from Meghalaya government or the Ministry of External Affairs.” A first class magistrate in East Jaintia Hills district in February 2020 had ordered that the Nigerians be deported to their country and a copy of the order was also sent to the DGP and the Chief secretary Mr.Ikwuka added urging the government to follow the international human rights protocols.
He also said,”India and Nigeria have a good relationship and we don’t want anything to spoil that. The Nigerian government does not support crimes if any ,committed by the citizens and is unaware of how the accused persons crossed the international border. Also he senselessly tried to convince that the nationals arrested in 2020 were first time travellers and did not know where Bangladesh ended and India began.
The Nigerian government has so far arrested over 22 agents in the African country for sending people abroad without properly briefing them about the local laws. However the Prison Inspector General Mr. Kharkrang has given an assurance for a detailed report on the matter. Mr.Kharkrang said the delay in their release was because the Home Department must follow the strict procedures in which the Political Department is also involved. But he assured that, the Ministry of External Affairs will be informed for taking necessary action for deporting the Nigerians to their country