NIGERIANS IN TOGO PRISONS CRY OUT
Nigerians incarcerated in prisons in Togo, a neighbouring West African country, have called on the Federal Government to come to their aid. According to these Nigerians, majority of whom are in Prison Civile, Lome, Togo, some of them were arrested on trumped-up charges and clamped into jail, where they are subjected to inhuman treatment.
The inmates, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being subjected to more severe punishment, revealed that most of them are legitimate businessmen arrested and detained without formal charges. They said that some of them have been in detention for three years.
They revealed that the prisons, where they are detained, are congested and lack facilities. According to them, in some of the prisons, inmates take their bath and defecate in the same room.
Explaining what they do in Togo, one of the inmates said: 'We want to use this opportunity to ask human rights organisations in Nigeria and Amnesty International to hear our cries and work for our release. At worst, they can ask for our extradition back to Nigeria. There are no terrorists, kidnappers, and coup-plotters among us here. We are only businessmen and women.'
The prison inmates, who stated that they had sent petitions to the Presidency, National Assembly and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs detailing their plights in Togo, regretted that nothing has happened by way of intervention. They, however, revealed that there was an acknowledgement from the National Assembly, in response to their letter of March 15, 2011.
The inmates revealed that apart from the inhuman treatment they get, some of them are taken out of prisons without their whereabouts being accounted for.
They cited an example of Messrs Frederick Edeh and Eze Chukwu, who were allegedly taken out of prison on September 1, 2011 and were not brought back.
According to one of the inmates, 'their whereabouts are unknown till now. These people had stayed in prison up to five years. Remember that since last year, we have lost many Nigerian brothers here. We the remaining Nigerians in Lome, Togo prison are living in fears.'
The prisoners said that since the Federal Government is planning to evacuate Nigerian prisoners in London back to Nigeria, such gesture should be extended to them.
The inmates want the Federal Government to intervene on their behalf by asking for full investigation, so that innocent ones among them will not suffer for what they did not do.