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UK repatriates three Nigerian prisoners, Niger deports 6000

By Karls Tsokar (Abuja) and Njadvara Musa, Damaturu
08 May 2015   |   4:18 am
At last, the prisoners exchange agreement between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) has taken off with the repatriation of three Nigerians and the assurance that others will soon follow.
 Abba Moro,

Abba Moro,

In the same vein, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has said that so far it had taken “custody of about 6,000 Nigerian refugees deported from Niger Republic.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has disclosed that it generated N51 billion from the sale of international passports in the last four years. The Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, who stated this yesterday in Abuja , stressed that Nigerian prisoners who were serving various jail terms in the UK were brought into the country earlier this year, are remanded in an undisclosed prison facility in the country.

Moro who spoke to journalists after presenting part of his score card, said efforts are being made to construct more prison facilities in the country as more of such prisoners will be sent back to the country very soon.

“The prisoners exchange agreement is in place and the UK has repatriated three Nigerians in UK prison since January this year and more prisoners would also be transferred.

The programme would continue after the exit of this administration, there is a committee in place to ensure the sustenance of the programme,” he said. Moro added that from 2011 when he assumed office as minister, more than N51 billion has been generated from the sales of passports as well as about five billion dollars raked in from off shore revenue.

He said issues of passport scam at the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) are being investigated and erring officers will be sanctioned accordingly. On the allegations of manipulation in the ongoing recruitment into the Immigration Service, Moro explained that his ministry has no hand in the conduct of the exercise, noting that the recruitment was being handled by the Presidential Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan.

While regretting the loss of lives during the failed NIS recruitment exercise last year, Moro insisted that if given another opportunity to handle the recruitment exercise, “I will do the same thing in a different manner.”

He added that the ministry adopted a strategy to ensure a transparent recruitment process, but unfortunately, things did not go as planned. “The idea was to rid the exercise of corruption against the backdrop of job-for-money and money-for-job that was pervading everywhere.

I plead with Nigerians and the families of the victims for understanding,” he said Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, the NEMA’s Director of Search and Rescue, Air Commodore Charles Otegbade said : “we have already received over 3,000 Nigerians sent packing from Niger by the neighbouring country’s military, after its base in the Lake Chad was attacked by Boko Haram last week.

The agency also received notice from Nigerien government that another set of 3,000 persons will be sent back to Nigeria. We will be going to the border post to take custody of the affected people.”

Otegbade further added: “we are going to remain in this border town of Geidam as long as it takes to evacuate the people back to their respective states. Geidam is acting as a transit town and we have two camps, one at the stadium and the other at a primary school.”

Otegbade further disclosed that the deportees are from Taraba, Adamawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Benue, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Kano States. The Guardian also learnt that most of the deportees are fishermen who migrated to Niger near the Lake Chad for fishing. Some of the returnees who spoke to reporters alleged that they were maltreated by the Nigerien military.