Nigerian prisoners and detainees in Togo have cried out to President Goodluck Jonathan and human right activists to come and save them from inhuman treatments meted out to them by the Togolese prison authorities.
In a letter signed by one of detainees, Chief Kalu Jabes alleged that Nigeria prisoners and detainees in Togo are languishing in prison for the past five years because of political situation in their country.
‘ The Togolese government is wicked, brutal and hostile to us. You might not believe that some of us in prison did not commit any crime. Simply because they saw you driving a big car and found out that you are a Nigerian, they will stop you and frame one allegation against you and before you know what is happening you will find yourself in prison.
When they see any Nigerian travelling from their airport, they stop, search you and if they found reasonable amount of money with you they will say that you are dealing with drugs and dump you in prison, and your money will be divided between the soldier and judges simply because you are a Nigerian. Your house will be searched and everything they find will be taken away and your bank account will be blocked,’ the letter stated.
According to the letter, their problem started when the former Ambassador, Hon. T.I. Ironsi, left office as Ambassador to Nigeria in Togo. In the letter, he drew the attention of the president to the fact that other nationals with much more grievous offences are released to their ambassadors.
‘ We have seen many other nationals released from this prison over some serious cases, which evidences were established, even some of the newspapers in Togo carried the news, for example: there was a case of rape, which involved a French national, one Mr. Rovers, he was accused of raping two under aged sisters (8 & 12 years) , they brought him in prison August 28, 2010, and released him the next month, September 15. There was also a case where one, Mr. Tony an American national was arrested at the Lome Airport over drug case after four days, he was released to American Ambassador and he was taken back home.
‘When the new president of Togo Bar Association, Mrs. Ekoue came to prison and called one of us Kalu Jabes and asked him his situation and what are you doing for your freedom? So after the discussion she gave Kalu her private phone line: 0092289045912 and asked him to forward it to our government for more information. The Igbo community leader, Chief Elder Omoji and Nigerian community secretary general are aware of our predicament.
‘Even France Radio International in one of its broadcast confirmed that Nigerians in Togo prison are suffering. Red Cross International, which visited this place sometime last month, also confirm the situation in this prison, Human Rights International from Switzerland also visited here this month and confirmed the suffering,’ the letter further stated.
They are pleading with Nigerian government to please come to their rescue by requesting that they be extradited to Nigeria to face their trial. ‘ If found guilty, we are ready to serve the sentence in our land because we know that we will get fair trial in our country. Most of the lawyers we have called upon took our money and disappeared without even taking us to court. So we want to use this medium to call on the Nigerian government to come to our rescue before all Nigerian men and women in this prison give up the ghost. We are looking forward to our government especially our dear president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Human right activists and all well meaning Nigerians to come to our aid.’