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More Nigerian inmates head home

Posted by Thasong Asvasena, The Nation on 2005/08/29 | Views: 365 |

More Nigerian inmates head home

The final 19 Nigerian prisoners selected for repatriation this year began their journey home yesterday.

The final 19 Nigerian prisoners selected for repatriation this year began their journey home yesterday.

The group was the last of 56 Nigerian nationals to be repatriated this year under an agreement between Thailand and the Federal Republic of Nigeria that first took effect in November 2002.

All 19 inmates were convicted on drug-related offences. Ten of them are serving life sentences. These were required by the agreement to serve eight years of their sentences in Thailand.

The other nine, serving lesser sentences, qualified for repatriation after serving four years here.

Speaking in a hand-over ceremony held at Bang Kwang maximum security prison in Nonthaburi province, Corrections Department director-general Natthee Jitsawang said the department appreciated the “good cooperation” from the Nigerian government and expected to see future repatriations of more Nigerian inmates.

Ninety-eight Nigerians are still serving terms in Thai prisons, mostly on drug-related convictions.

Many of them are qualified for repatriation but will have to wait until they or their families can afford their travel expenses.

Ahmed, at 65 the oldest of the 19 inmates and convicted of heroin possession, said he was happy to be repatriated as he wanted to see his four children, although he still has 10 more years to serve in Nigeria after five years at Bang Kwang.

Derick, who has another 10 years to serve in Nigeria after eight years in Thailand for a drug-related conviction, said he was sad to leave some close compatriots still serving in Thailand after bidding an emotional farewell to them.

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