Harsh words rather than comfort, come from the Senate yesterday, to Nigerians stranded in Indonesian jails.” Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Matthew Nwagwu, had earlier sought the leave of the chamber for its intervention in the plight of Nigerians languishing in Indonesian jails, some, on trumped-up charges.
Rising under Order 42 of the Senate Standing Orders, Nwagwu made reference to newspaper reports which indicated that over 300 Nigerians were in Indonesian prisons while 16 others were on death row and “would be killed any moment from now.
“There has been public outcry about the news. I have called the Minister of Foreign Affairs and he assured me that he will get in touch with our mission in Jakarta, although he was of the opinion that most of the issues are related to drug offences.
“I wish to suggest that we invite the minister to address the Senate on what is happening and what can be done to reduce and review some of these cases.”
In his response, Senate President David Mark recalled that the Senate intervened in the last Senate but its findings showed that the Nigerians were, indeed, drug traffickers.
Said Mark: “Unfortunately in the sixth senate we took up this matter and we sent a delegation to Indonesia. I think it was Senator Uche Chukwumerije who led the team to Indonesia, Singapore and China.
They brought a report back that all the people on death row had gone for trafficking in drugs and they had exhausted all the legal system possible and that it was only that our intervention that stopped them from being killed.
“If they are still alive, they should thank their God. People who go and break laws in other countries should not expect us to protect them.
“We will not allow any Nigerian to be maltreated outside the shores of Nigeria.
We can even go to war for it; even for one Nigerian if he is unfairly treated.
“But any Nigerian who goes out and carry drugs should know the risk they are taking; we will not defend them also.
“I think there is a clear line between an honest Nigerian who goes out there for proper, genuine business in accordance with the laws of the country and those who go there to smear the name of Nigeria.”
That we just won’t take.”
The Senate President reiterated that the nation’s upper legislative chamber will not intervene on behalf of the stranded Nigerians.
“So, leave them there let them face what they have gone for. You can ask the minister if you want but we have had a proper briefing on this matter before.
“My conclusion is that we have done our best and it should serve as a warning for other Nigerians. The punishment in those countries is death, so if they misfire, they face the punishment,” he said.
source: Daily Sun