Senate President David Mark has said the country will not attempt to rescue any Nigerians found guilty of criminal activities in foreign countries.
Addressing a plenary session by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Matthew Ifeanyi Nwaguw, who expressed concern over the fate of 18 Nigerian inmates set to be executed in Indonesia, the Senate President said in no uncertain terms that he will not intervene in the matter.
Mark explained that while the country will come to aid of Nigerians who are treated unfairly in foreign nations, those who err on the wrong side of the law will have to do the time.
“We will not defend any Nigerian who breaks the laws of foreign countries. If they break the laws there, they should face the consequences. This is a warning to other Nigerians abroad. They cannot continue to tarnish our image,” Senator Mark said.
The Senate President, however, did give the committee chairman the freedom to summon Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, for further deliberation.
There have been growing concerns in the government over the number of Nigerians languishing in jail cells abroad, most of whom are serving time for drug-related offenses.
In Indonesia, where some Nigerians face the death penalty, there are over 300 inmates currently imprisoned in the country.
Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia, Ibrahim Baba Mai-Sule says he has approached the Indonesian government with a proposal to transfer some of the inmates back to Nigeria.
He adds: “We cannot talk of prisoners’ exchange since they dont have any prisoners in our country.”
But this, he says, will take time.