Thursday 19 June 2014

Italy set to repatriate 700 Nigerian Prisoners back to Nigeria

nigerian prisoners in italy

The Nigerian government and Italian government will soon conclude negotiations on a Prisoners Transfer Agreement (PTA)  that would enable Italy to return over 700 Nigerian prisoners serving in several prisons in Italy.

Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Fulvius Rusticu, told NAN on Thursday in Abuja.

Rusticu revealed that Nigerian and Italian officials would have a meeting in first week of July in Rome to finalise the agreement and possibly work things out for the immediate return of the captured prisoners.

The Italian ambassador narrated that under the agreement, Nigerian prisoners who qualify for the transfer must return home to complete their prison terms here in Nigeria. 

He also said that the Nigerian government was not obligated to help improve the condition of prisons in Nigeria as a pre-condition for signing the agreement.

“Each country is responsible for its prisons; the logic in signing a PTA is that we think that it is better for Nigerians and even Italians to serve their terms at home.

“Already to be in prisons is not a nice experience, being abroad is even worse, so given the prisoner the chance to return home is in their own interest.

“It is very rare for a prisoner to want to stay in a foreign country, we have cases of Italians serving in prisons abroad and they look forward, and are happy to return home,” he said.

According to official figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no fewer than 15,316 Nigerians are in various prisons abroad with the largest number of 752 in the UK.

In January, Nigeria and the UK signed a PTA to repatriate some of the 521 Nigerians currently serving their terms in that country.

Prior to the signing, a major challenge on deportation had been the condition of prisons in the country.

But the UK had pledged one million pounds to Nigeria to help improve its prisons.


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