Saturday, June 29, 2013

10 Nigerians billed for deportation from Equatorial Guinea set free

President Mbasogo holds Nigeria in high esteem –Jonathan’s envoy to Malabo, Amb Bassey


Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb Gbenga Ashiru.
PHOTO: MAURICE ARCHIBONG. Copyrights Reserved.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s envoy to Malabo, Ambassador Sunday Benjamin Bassey, has lauded President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea for the latter’s magnanimity, which prompted the release of 10 Nigerian illegal immigrants, who were in detention and billed for deportation.

In an exclusive telephone chat with Travels, the Nigerian Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, who confirmed the development, also revealed that, on behalf of President Jonathan, he had since despatched a letter of gratitude to President Mbasogo in appreciation of his kind gesture, which sources described as unprecendented.

It could be recalled that President Jonathan was in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea for two days, March 21 and the 22nd, for a regional summit. During that visit, the Nigerian President had put in word on behalf of the distraught immigrants. Consequently, in an uncommon show of benevolence, President Mbasogo had ordered the release of the 10 Nigerian immigrants, whose deportatation was already fixed for a date before the beginning of April, this year.

Speaking further, Amb Bassey enthused: “Prior to the detainees’ release, the host minister of national security said such gesture had never before been extended to any illegal immigrant from any other country by Equatorial Guinea”.

Pressed for his take as to why the President of Equatorial Guinea made this unique exception for the Nigerians, Amb Bassey reckoned: “I believe President Mbasogo ordered the release of those 10 detainees because of the high esteem and respect in which he holds President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigeria”.

Countless immigrants, many of them without necessary travel documents, wash into Equatorial Guinea daily. And, with indigenes numbering less than one million in this oil-rich nation, it is easy to understand, why authorities of Equatorial Guinea take serious view of illegal immigrants and the security challenge some of them could pose to this country of barely 28,000sqkm land area.

Concluding, Bassey reasoned: “Due to the small size of the population of Equatorial Guinea, the government is determined to keep influx of immigrants to the barest minimum”.

Foreign Minister, Dr Gbenga Ashiru.

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