Number of Nigerians on illegal detention in Benin Republic rises to 5,000–Ohaneze Ndigbo

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo has demanded urgent action from the Federal Government, perhaps, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), for the release of over 5,000 Nigerians of different tribes and religion, who are on illegal detention across 13 prisons in Benin Republic.

Daily Sun reports that the organisation alleged that several Nigerians and Africans, who are engaged in several legitimate businesses in the country are consistently being harassed, tortured, maltreated, and, in some cases, subjected to acts of modern day slavery by authorities in Benin Republic.Ezoic

The National President General, Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), Comrade Igboayaka. O. Igboayaka, told journalists at a press conference, in Abuja, yesterday, that independent investigation by the organisation revealed that the detainees were alleged to have been involved in frivolous crime by authorities in the Republic of Benin without any evidence of the crime nor proper trials.

“The independent investigation further revealed that about 95 per cent of the detainees are innocent. These are Nigerians who have and do legitimate businesses in Benin Republic with verifiable sources of income, while some were those who went for business trips to the country.Ezoic

“The most shocking information during the course of our investigation was that the Benin Republic government is having a ‘dirty deal’ with the French Government regarding the lives of these detainees. We were reliably informed that the Benin Republic Government receives 45,000 CFA daily from the French Government on each person unlawfully arrested and detained in the prison. This might be the reason for more illegal detention of foreigners, especially Nigerians, at Akporo Misserete Prison. 

 “We also found out that in several cases, prisoners are taken away from the prison to unknown destinations and they are unaccounted for. Some of the inmates believe that their colleagues are used as commodities for human trafficking and organ harvesting. This has increased the fears and anxiety among the detainees.

 “It’s obvious that with the horrific information from prisoners in all the 13 prisons in Benin Republic visited, the health conditions, safety and welfare of innocent Nigerians held in solitary confinement with impunity should be quickly investigated and proper actions taken to secure their freedom.”Ezoic

Mr. Igboayaka also told journalists that the prison inmates also alleged that Innocent Nigerians, particularly northerners, who are walking across Nigeria and Benin Republic border are, most times, arrested and detained in the D’Akpro Misserete Prison, and are charged with terrorism. 

He said the prisoners suspected that some Benin Republic government officials were using innocent Nigerian citizens for illicit activities, notably, human trafficking, organ harvesting/modern day slavery after illegal arrest and detention of such victims in a neo mafia gestapo style.

The Ohaneze Ndigbo youth leader, thus, suggested that deeper and thorough investigation be conducted by the DSS, NIDCOM, members of the National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to uncovering more atrocities being committed against Nigerians in foreign countries, and in this case, Benin Republic.

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