100 Nigerians languish in Moroccan prisons, says Ambassador

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No fewer than one hundred Nigerians are languishing in Moroccan Prisons. The Nigerian Ambassador to Morocco, Senator Abdallah Wali, who disclosed this, told journalists in Sokoto yesterday that most of them were involved in illegal migration, drug offences and related petty crimes.
He also said that there were currently about 100 legal residents in the North African country.
“But, we have a couple of thousands of illegal residents inside Morocco,” the envoy disclosed. Wali further said that the Mission was partnering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja to stem the tide of illegal migration of Nigerians to Morocco.
He said that the mission had conducted series of workshops to sensitise Nigerians in this direction.
“Especially, Nigerians who come from areas that are prone to visiting Morocco illegally. The whole idea of visiting Morocco illegally is because of its promixity to Europe. It takes only 15 kilometers to cross the Mediterranean sea into Spain,” he explained.
Wali noted that there was no existing protocol between Nigeria and Morocco regarding repatriation of Nigerian prisoners or Moroccan prisoners to their respective countries.
“What we do is that, the Embassy frequently visits Nigerian prisoners in various prisons spread across the country,” he stated.
The envoy also said that during such visits, the Embassy officials listened to prisoners and collate their requests for onward transmission to the authorities.
“Thereafter, they get attention, whether it is medical, sometimes even the food they eat. Sometimes, they also need access to some things that are not provided in the prisons,” Wali, added.
According to the Ambassador, the King of Morocco pardons prisoners, including Nigerians in some cases.
He lamented that many Nigerians were often stranded in Morocco and in most cases, become illegal migrants. He stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja had tried to sensitise Nigerians against illegal migration through the Moroccan route.This is because of the risk involved in travelling, the risk involved in staying as illegal residents in Morocco and the risk involved in crossing over to Europe.

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