Black African Re-orientation and Development Organisation (BARADO), an NGO, has called on Nigerian Government to secure the release of over 6,000 Nigerians suffering in different Chinese prisons.
The Executive Director of the Organisation, Mr Nkem Anyata-Lafia made the call on Wednesday in Abuja during a peaceful protest to raise awareness on the plight of African prisoners, particularly Nigerians in Chinese prisons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions a march along Unity Fountain and Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja.
Some of the inscriptions read; “Bring back Nigerian citizens in Chinese prisons; Nigerian prisoners in China donate blood under duress every three months; Nigerians are humiliated and dehumanised in Chinese prisons” among others.
He said that the Nigerian government should take urgent steps and measures to“ bring home our Nigerian brothers and sisters serving various jail terms in China to complete their jail terms in Nigeria.’’
Anyata-Lafia said that similar thing had been done in China with about 47 countries transferring their citizens to serve their respective jail terms in their various countries.
He said that it was in the interest of the organisation to bring to the notice of Nigerian government the gruesome and disheartening condition of Africans particularly Nigerians in prisons in China.
“The facts within our knowledge show that out of the over 6000 Nigerians in Chinese prisons, over 55 per cent are unlawfully and illegally being incarcerated.
“Over 90 per cent of this number has been in jail for over 10 years, subjected daily to unnatural hard labour and torture.
“They are being made to work at N7 per month for an economy that desperately seeks to be number one in the world,’’ he said.
According to him, some of these prisoners have no knowledge of the crime they have committed or when they will finish their prison terms, and some have been detained for more than 10 years.
The executive director alleged that this had been the regular practice of the country’s authorities which ensures that prisons were continually stacked full so as to provide the needed cheap labour for its economy.
Anyata-Lafia said records at the organisation’s disposal showed that many Nigerians in Chinese prisons were being held based on false allegations.
“In some cases, death sentence are passed carelessly and secret executions carried out in questionable conditions.
“There are even alleged cases of organ harvesting to treat their rich industrialists with failing health.
“They are daily subjected to slavery and hard labour with nothing other than white rice which is offered to them once.
“This is even to say nothing about those who are made to die slowly by being forced to handle harmful industrial chemicals without any form of protection around their bodies against all known industrial safety standard,’’ he said.
However, one of the recently released prisoners, Mr Emmanuel Ugochukwu blamed the influx of Nigerians into China on lack of job opportunities in Nigeria.
According to Ugochukwu, a lot of Nigerian graduates are there because they are looking for greener pasture.
He said that Nigerians in Chinese prisons have to work 24 hours in order to make both ends meet, adding that it was a terrible experience which many of them had passed through for over 15 years in China prison.
“ We were made to go through hard labour without pay; you have to work tirelessly in order to make little money to buy toiletries,” he said.
He, however, called on Nigerian government to take proactive measure to ensure the release of Nigerians in Chinese prisons as well as provide jobs for the youth.
He noted that this would reduce the number of Nigerian youths seeking greener pastures in foreign lands. (NAN)