(Maureen Okon, NAN)
Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) and the Counselling and Rehabilitation of Prisoners Initiative (CAROPI), an NGO, have pledged to collaborate in assisting Nigerians in the Diaspora who were victims of wrongful incarceration.
The two organisations announced their commitment in a statement signed by Gabriel Odu of NiDCOM’s Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement quoted the Chairman/CEO NiDCOM, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as reiterating the need for an accurate and comprehensive database of Nigerians incarcerated in various prisons globally, at a closed-door meeting she held with members of the CAROPI.
The four-man CAROPI team was led to the meeting by the President, Dr Hajiya Rabia Cengis and accompanied by Mrs Victoria Nor-Ugor (Head Medical Department), Barr Justice Uhuegbu (Head Legal Department) and Mr Shiver Akuku (Secretary CAROPI).
Dabiri-Erewa explained that efforts were underway to compile a detailed list of Nigerians wrongfully arrested and incarcerated while being innocent of their alleged crimes.
She disclosed that the Commission had gone to several countries, such as Brazil, South-Africa, Togo and the Benin Republic, to facilitate the release of some Nigerians wrongfully arrested and incarcerated.
The NiDCOM chair highlighted a specific case in Brazil of a 74-year old woman who was wrongfully arrested, but the Commission was able to get her released only for her to die shortly afterwards.
She urged Nigerians travelling outside the country to be of good behaviour and avoid committing crimes or participating in criminality.
Also speaking at the meeting, CAROPI president Rabia Cengis explained that many Nigerians had been victims of wrongful arrest and incarceration in many of the countries she had visited and that this was an issue that needed to be addressed.
Other members of her delegation expressed optimism over a robust working relationship with NiDCOM in such areas as legal assistance, reintegration and rehabilitation as well as provision of a conducive environment for justice and equity for all.