Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has described as disturbing, the deportation of 723 Nigerians between 2018 and 2019, insisting that each case must be treated on its merits.
It, however, said those deported for committing crimes were deserving of whatever penalties they got.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated this in her reaction to the development.
She, however, assured that the recent deportees from Ghana would not be made to suffer for crimes they did not commit.
Dabiri-Erewa expressed happiness with the prompt response of the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Abikoye, was on top of the situation to resolve the issues.
The presidential aide said: “The story that hundreds of Nigerians were being deported from Ghana is disturbing and worrisome. The good thing is that Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana is on top of the situation. Now, he met with the Comptroller General of the Immigration in Ghana and they both had a very productive discussion. But here is the situation; if indeed you commit a crime you have to face the penalties. But what we are saying is that a bad apple should not spoil the bunch. Let every case be treated on its merit. That’s what our envoy is demanding and that’s what Nigeria is asking for.
Dabiri-Erewa added: “It’s important that both nations look at this situation, not gloss over it to ensure that our relationships continue to get better and not retrogress. So, we appeal to Nigerians that wherever you are, you are the number one ambassador of the country. The assurance of the Nigerian government is that wherever any Nigerian is deemed to be improperly treated by any country, the matter will be taken up. Nigerian High Commissioner in Ghana is on top of this situation; he’s meeting the relevant bodies and briefing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Nigeria will not gloss over this.
“We want to appeal to Nigerians to stay calm, be law-abiding and at the same time, Nigeria will not tolerate indecent treatment of her citizens. One bad apple should not spoil the whole bunch. So we should not treat one badly because another one committed a crime. If you commit a crime, you pay the penalty. We will continue to see how it goes but I’m glad that the High Commissioner to Ghana is on top of the situation.”
On the alleged crimes committed by the deportees, Dabiri-Erewa said: “Don’t forget we have issues with the traders which we resolved with Mr. President’s intervention. So, this too will be resolved. Everything will be done to ensure that; as I said, you will not suffer for a crime you did not commit. If, however, you commit a crime, then you have to face the penalty. Nigeria and Ghana have agreed on this. We will look at each case on its own merit.”