A new effort to probe the alleged extrajudicial killings and wrongful detention of over 250 Nigerians in Ethiopia has been launched by the Senate.
Following a resolution sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Simon Mwadkwon (PDP Plateau North) and Senator Victor Umeh (YPP Anambra Central) captioned “Urgent need to investigate the unlawful killings and incarceration of over 250 Nigerians in Ethiopia,” the Senate has begun its investigation.
Mwadkwon, the motion’s presenter, asked the Senate to instruct its Diaspora and Foreign Affairs committees to coordinate with the Federal Government to form a committee to travel to the Republic of Ethiopia and investigate the situation of Nigerians there.
On behalf of Nigerians detained in Ethiopia, he urged the federal government to issue an immediate directive to the Ethiopian Embassy to coordinate efforts with the delegation of the Senate committees on diaspora and foreign affairs to find a long-term resolution to the issues.
He claims that “the video clip being circulated in the social media indicates that Nigerians are held captives in the maximum prison of Ethiopia and are in serious peril which calls for urgent intervention and thorough probe into the heinous activities.”
He expressed disappointment that this was occurring despite a global call for solidarity.
There is “widespread information” being spread, Mwadkwon said, “by Dr. Paul Ezike calling Nigerian government to intervene on the inhumanity and torture that Nigerians are receiving in Ethiopia without evidence of commission of any crime.”
Also, “based on the widespread information being circulated, over 250 Nigerians who have continued to face these maltreatment and inhumanity have not committed any crime known to any law and there is no evidence of any court proceedings stating the categories of crimes they have committed or any court conviction in that regard,” he said.
Further, he said, “at the present time, based on the sovereignty of this country and the sanctity of the lives and properties of all Nigerians everywhere as captured in the Nigerian Constitution, especially sections 33, 34, and 35 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which has similar provisions in other international codes, instruments, and conventions to which both Nigeria and Ethiopia are signatories, there is no justification whatsoever for taking away the dignity of any Nigerian or Ethiopian.”
“While the rest of our country is struggling economically and socially, the lives of over 250 of our fellow citizens are being treated inhumanely and degradingly, a situation that demands the immediate attention of these hallowed chambers.
The lawmaker went on to say that it was “pathetic that a nation as populous as Nigeria, the giant of Africa, our citizens are being held in captivity in the 21st century where the call is for unity among nation states,” referencing a video showing the mistreatment of Nigerian citizens by Ethiopia.