Nigeria Seeks Prisoner Swap With South Africa

Nigeria Seeks Prisoner Swap With South Africa

Nigeria and South African are working towards a prisoner exchange agreement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Olugbenga Ashiru, said on Friday in Abuja.

Nigeria Seeks Prisoner Swap With South Africa

There are about 400 Nigerians in South African prisons.

Mr. Ashiru said a discussion on the swap was one of the positive outcomes of the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the country.

During the visit, Mr. Jonathan had lamented the huge number of Nigerians in South African prisons, which was put at some 400 inmates.

Mr. Ashiru told reporters that the agreement when concluded would allow Nigerians currently serving prison terms in South Africa to return to Nigeria to complete their prison terms.

He said Nigeria already has existing agreements on prisoners swap with countries such as U.K., Italy Spain and Portugal.

The minister offered harsh words to Nigerians violating the laws of foreign countries, saying "we must make it clear that this government is not in support of illegality."

"This government is not in support of any of our nationals going to carry drugs across the continents," he warned.

On the gains of Jonathan’s visit to South Africa, Mr. Ashiru said both countries have agreed to cooperate on international issues, particularly as it concerns the continent.

He said the recent action by both countries to abstain from a UN vote calling for political transition in Syria was "another example of the type of leadership we want to show and we will continue to stress this point going forward."

"I can tell you without any hesitation that we have decided that it is in interest of the African continent that South Africa and Nigeria must work together.

There is no doubt that we are the two power houses in the continent politically, economically and socially and we believe that we have a duty to move the continent forward. Nigeria and South Africa must work together to realise this goal.

If we both work together we will discover that the majority of other African countries would line up behind us.

We have discovered that what should be uppermost to us now in Africa is the unity and economic development of our continent and the only way to do it is for Nigeria and South Africa to work together," he said.

Nigeria, South Africa and other abstentions did not stop the 193-member UN General Assembly from adopting the resolution on Syria.

The resolution condemned the Syrian government gross human rights abuse and use of heavy weapons and called for a political transition in the country. There were 107 votes in favour, 12 against and 59 abstentions.

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