Right now, about 20 Nigerians are said to be on death row awaiting execution in Libya, with 10 already slaughtered, having been convicted on flimsy immigration offences.
Abike Dabiri-ErewaHouse of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, last week, had cause to put up a word again in favour of Nigerians, who are currently facing a harrowing experience in Libya.
Some days back, the committee, headed by Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had told the world the pathetic plight of Nigerians in Moamar Ghadafi’s country, particularly concerning immigration issues.
What the committee did, last week, was to latch on to a petition by a group, Social Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, based in The Gambia, which also confirmed that 20 Nigerians are currently in different prisons across Libya under very harsh conditions and billed to be executed any moment from now, and the ruling of the commission that Libya, under no circumstance, must order the execution of the 20 Nigerians.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is the body charged with overseeing states parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
SERAP also disclosed that over 1,000 Nigerians, said to have been granted amnesty in Libya, were left to wallow in pains as the Federal Government had failed to show up even when other countries had gone to collect their nationals.
Names of Nigerians said to be awaiting execution in Libya , according to the group, are: Adepoju Adebowale, Abdulah Usman, David Owolabi, Micky Remi, Okuronbo Osazemhide, Gani Olu, Ikeoma, Ogurapulu Richard, Emmanuel Nwaeueje, James Amala, Declan Nnamdi, Emmanuel Ude, Moses Anigbogu and Livingstone Kennedy. Others include: Ogoubamu, Okhwku Moha, John Andrew, Jude Idahosa, Juliana Okolo and Luke Ejike.
The prayer of the committee, this time round, as revealed in a statement made available by its chairman, Honourable Abike Dabiri- Erewa, was to insist that the Federal Government must intervene in the critical condition of its citizens in Libya.
For obvious reasons, the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, had to engage the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, and the Nigerian Ambassador to Libya, accusing them of dereliction of duties while paying little or no attention to the plight of Nigerians in Libya and allowing them to be maltreated, jailed and executed without fair trial.
That was at a time when 10 Nigerians were executed in Libya without the Federal Government raising a finger, a development which drew the rage of the committee, making it to declare that it would hold both Maduekwe and the Ambassador to Libya responsible if one additional Nigerian was executed.
Strangely, the Presidency has denied the claim made by the committee, saying the committee had no evidence but merely relied on the internet for its information. Can the Presidency still maintain that in the light of the petition written by SERAP to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights?
Now, it is the prayer of the Honourable Dabiri-Erewa-led committee that the Federal Government should set up a panel that would investigate the matter. She noted that her committee felt it was important for the government to show concern for these Nigerians.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, it was surprising that both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigeria Ambassador in Libya were still denying the plight of the Nigerians in Libya.
Political observers find it difficult to place the attitude of the Foreign Affairs Minister towards the activities of the Dabiri-Erewa-led committee, especially on Libya’s inhuman treatment of Nigerians, leading to the execution of some of them.
One needs to listen to Maduekwe a few months ago when he came for the committee’s inauguration, describing the committee as perhaps the most important one that he would relate closely with, while also lauding Dabiri Erewa as well qualified to head the body.
Can one ask the minister to tell us what changed his position between then and now.