By Chioma Obinna
This certainly is not the best of times for Nigerians in Indonesia as they are presently living in palpable fear said to have been fuelled by recent hostile actions of the government of that country which culminated in 21 Nigerians being condemned to death.
Irked by the development, relations, friends and well-wishers of the condemned men in Nigeria have during a protest cried out to the Federal Government to intervene urgently to save the lives of their loved ones, adding that delay to act could be dangerous as 2008 Nigerians have so far been killed in Indonesia.
These protesting Nigerians who stormed the Embassy of Indonesia in Lagos last week to condemn what they described as indiscriminate killing of Nigerians by the Indonesia government were ‘armed’ with placards some of which read: ‘Stop Indonesia from executing more Nigerians in Prison’, ‘Execution is not a solution’, End death penalty, Stop the killing of Nigerians in Indonesia Prison’, President Goodluck Jonathan do something to stop the killing,’ and ‘Don’t allow them to kill us like animals”.
Among the Nigerians on death row in Indonesia prison, according to a list made available to Vanguard Metro, VM, are Kingsley Okonkwo, Michael Titus Igwe, Izuchukwu Ezioha, Ekperedike S. Olekama, Adam Wilson, Hilary K. Chinezie, Eugene Ape, Humprey Ejike, Okwudil Ayotaeze, Obinna Nwajiagu, Fredrick Luther ( Benjamin Obiora) Sylvester Nwaolisa, Dennis Anumora and Ikenna Ezenweukwe. One Gabriel Nnadi died in prison, while another detainee, Daniel Enemon, was killed recently and buried Last week February 6, 2015 in Enugu.
Some of the protesters lamented what they described as injustice meted out to Nigerians and also accused the Nigerian government of maintaining grave silence on issues bordering on the lives of Nigerians. “What is most worrisome is that our embassy in Indonesia and the Federal Government have remained quiet about the wanton killing of Nigerians there,” Mr. Okey Samuel who alleged his brother, Mr. Joel Okoro was killed in 2008 lamented.
According to Samuel: “I am a living witness to the reckless killing of Nigerians in that country. In 2008 when my brother who was about to marry here in Nigeria was killed despite all the promises made by the embassy and the Nigerians government to intervene, nothing was done. “We are not happy that our government is keeping quiet and allowing the Indonesian government to murder us like fowls.
“They are here in Nigerians walking freely. They said it to our face that they are killing Nigerians because our government is weak. They tell us that we have no government,” Samuel alleged.
Addressing the protesters at the entrance of the Embassy of Indonesia in Lagos, Chairman, Asian Businessmen Association, ABMA, Mr. Athan Ezenwa Okedu, said the indiscriminate killing was no longer acceptable to Nigerians irrespective of the crime committed.
Okedu, who accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians in Indonesia.
Apart from the 21 in death row, about 2008 Nigerians are said to have been executed in Indonesia. “The last time there was execution which involved a citizen of Holland and Brazil their embassies sent Indonesians in their country back; Nigeria did nothing. Why can’t they temper justice with mercy? After serving the sentence for their offence for some years, why can’t they bring them back to Nigeria to complete their prison terms.
“I am appealing to them to stop killing Nigerians because if they continue we will revolt. They have thousands of Indonesians here and nobody is killing them,” he stated.
He further advised Nigerians doing business in the country to stay away from crime and do genuine businesses to avoid indiscriminate killings of innocent Nigerians.
Also, the Chairman of Youth for Greater Nigerians, YGN, Dr. Paschal Okoli who led the protest said: “We are protesting today to let Nigerians and the whole world know what is happening to Nigerians in Indonesia. We are protesting against capital punishment that is being applied on our people. We are not supporting drug trafficking but unjust killing. We are appealing to the Federal Government to use every mechanism or level of department to intervene in this crisis to make the Indonesian government to stop the indiscriminate killings.
“Punishment can be done in various ways, not killing. They can replace this death sentence with clemency, prison transfer arrangement or bringing them home for a life in prison. Other governments are doing everything possible to protect their citizens.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government and the Indonesia Government to stop the killings and spare the 21 Nigerians in their prison,” Dr Okoli said..
On his part, Honourable Ekwueme said Nigerians do not deserve the treatment they are getting in Indonesia. “They are killing our men who do not deserve it. Last time they killed so many people. Today our men are in prison waiting to be killed. We are not violent, we are peacefully begging and asking them to tender justice with mercy,” he submitted.
Corroborating their views, a popular artist who was also among the protesters, Benjamin Olarikpo a.k.a Ben 7, said: “Nigerians should stay away from crime both here and outside the country, particularly drug business. But there is need for our government to negotiate with the Indonesia government because death sentence is no longer fashionable,” he said.
Responding, Representative of Indonesia Embassy who received the protesters, Randolf Sahata, collected their appeal letter for onward submission to their embassy in Abuja.
Sahata assured them that the embassy would work with them in ensuring that Nigerians live peacefully in Indonesia.