BY TONY EDIKE
ENUGU—Officials of the Nigerian Embassy in Botswana have confirmed arrest and detention of 41 Nigerians for allegedly violating the country’s immigration law as several of them are to be deported soon.
The officials, however, said the arrest was illegal and a gross violation of international convention which gave those with genuine permits the right to reside in the Southern African country.
According to Mrs. Victoria Ojeka-Eje, Minister/Acting Nigerian High Commissioner in the country, 18 of the 41 Nigerians arrested in several raids conducted by security agencies last week had been released though their passports were still being held by the authorities.
She said seven other Nigerians were transferred elsewhere awaiting deportation, while 16 persons were still in detention, even as the crackdown on Nigerian citizens had continued.
Speaking to Vanguard, yesterday. Mrs Obka, who is standing in for the High Commissioner, Mr. O. C. Cocodia, currently on home leave, said no official explanation had been given regarding the ongoing crackdown on Nigerians.
It was gathered that the government of Botswana had between last Thursday and weekend arrested and detained about 50 Nigerians but no official reason was given for the crackdown.
The security agents, who carried out the raid, reportedly told the detainees that the government had directed Nigerians residing in that country to leave.
It was gathered that many Nigerians residing in the country now live in serious fear and have raised an alarm over their plights in that country.
They pleaded with federal government to urgently intervene and save them from further maltreatment and humiliation.
A Nigerian resident in Botswana, who identified himself as Lawrence Bassey, told Vanguard on phone that the action of the government, which is centred on alleged hatred and racism, had become very worrisome.
He said: “What we experienced here in Botswana from Thursday to Friday last week was very tragic and devastating. Many law-abiding Nigerians with official permits doing their legitimate businesses here in Botswana were forcefully arrested, beaten, detained and were refused visit by their relations.”