Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Nigerian High Commission seeks release of 12 nationals from Meghalaya jails

November 19, 2020 04:48 PM

SHILLONG: The Nigerian High Commission in India has sought the Meghalaya governments intervention to release 12 Nigerian nationals lodged in the states jails following their arrest for illegally crossing over to India from Bangladesh, a minister said on Thursday.

Meghalaya Home (Prisons) Minister Alexander Laloo Hek said that a representative deputed by the Nigerian High Commission in New Delhi met him and sought the state government's intervention to release the Nigerian nationals lodged in different jails in the mountainous state.

"We have initiated the process. Our political department would send the official communication to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in this regard, following which the MHA will forward the matter to the External Affairs Ministry.

"It is a long process to release foreign nationals from jails," Hek, who also holds the Health and Family Welfare portfolio, told IANS over phone.

An official of the Home (Prisons) Department said that at least 12 Nigerian nationals are presently lodged in Shillong and Jowai district jails in Meghalaya even after completing their stipulated jail terms.

Nigerian High Commission representative Betrand Tochukwu Ikwuka, during his two-day visit to Meghalaya on Wednesday and Thursday, met Hek and other Meghalaya government officials and discussed the release of the Nigerian nationals. Ikwuka also visited the two prisons.

African and Myanmar nationals often cross over to the northeastern states illegally via Bangladesh for different purposes, including jobs and sports.

Northeastern states share 1,643 km borders with Myanmar and 1,880 km borders with Bangladesh and most stretches of the frontiers are unfenced, making these advantageous points for the illegal emigrants, infiltrators, clandestine traders as well as terrorists.

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