Nigerians in Ghana prisons cry out for help

2014-11-23
THE NATION Newspaper- Esther Onyegbula

His name in Igbo language means “Lord bless me”. But today Chigozie is certainly not feeling blessed as he is one of the numerous Nigerians currently serving various jail terms in Ghanaian prisons.

He was arrested at the airport in Ghana while trying to smuggle Marijuana to Hong Kong and was subsequently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Chigozie’s health is said to have deteriorated, allegedly due to the poor condition of the prison. They (inmates) are allegedly denied food and medical attention when sick.

Chigozie and other Nigerians who are languishing in Ghanaian prisons have, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to repatriate them back to Nigeria to complete their jail terms. He narrated his ordeal to Vanguard Metro, VM on telephone.

“I want to first of all, say that I am truly sorry for engaging in drug trafficking and bringing dishonour to my country, Nigeria. Before I was arrested, I was supplying computer accessories to traders in Ghana.

I later got involved in drug trafficking and was caught with Marijuana at the Airport while attempting to travel to Hong Kong. I was charged to court and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. I have already served about 12 months and still have 14 years to go.

Presently, I am very sick and need medical care. But the authorities have refused to allow me and other Nigerian prisoners access to medical attention. I don’t want to die in a foreign prison. We are treated like animals and the conditions are terrible. When a Nigeria eventually dies in prison, his relatives are not usually notified,” he said.

Pleads for government intervention

Continuing, he said: ” I am pleading to the Nigeria government to intervene to enable Nigerians who are prisoners in Ghana have access to medical treatment when sick or better still, bring us back to serve our jail terms in Nigeria.

Our families are in the dark, they really don’t know what we are facing. We’ve spent a lot of money trying to appeal in court, but all to no avail.

” I have witnessed over 100 deaths of Nigerian citizens in Ghanaian prisons and most of their families are not even aware. They still nurse the hope of their return without knowing they are dead and thrown into the bush. We appeal to the government of Nigeria to please act on our behalf and repatriate us back home. We have many Nigerians in all the 46 prisons in Ghana that need the help of the Nigerian government.”

Another prisoner at Nsawam Medium Security Prison, Ghana who insisted on anonymity said: “I’m serving a jail-term of 50 years for narcotics not worth up to one kilogramme. I am presently in my sixth year in jail

Appeal

“We appeal to the Nigerian government to please come to our aid and repatriate us back to Nigerian prisons to serve our remaining sentences. The condition here is very unbearable. We need to reconnect with our families. The Ghanaian police are fond of arresting innocent Nigerians, giving them high sentences of 50, 70 ,100, 150 to 200 years. Most of us have spent eight, 10, 15, 17 and 20 years in prison and some have died without completing their jail terms,” he alleged.

Revenge

” My prosecutor told me that he is dealing with Nigerians as a revenge for what the Nigerian government did to Ghanaians in 1983 and 1985 when they were deported during the infamous Ghana-Must-Go.”

Pray for us

He appealed to Nigerians to “please continue to pray for us and do what you can to bring us back home”. His words: “Another sad part is that most of us are on sick bed without drugs and food. We are in prison yet we feed our selves.

This is the hardship Nigerian citizens in all the prisons in Ghana are facing. I have been sick for the past three months and they have not taken me to the hospital or given me any drug. They treat us like animals. They give us only dry garri.

We have no access to communication. I know how I suffered to reach you. Our hopes and the lives of about 800 to 1000 Nigerian prisoners in the 46 prisons in Ghana lies in your hand. Please, help us reach out to the Nigeria government”.

 

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