By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, queried its Italian counterpart over the hurried burial of 26 migrants found dead in a Spanish warship, Cantabria, in the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the Federal Government, the Italian government must explain why it buried the migrants, all females, earlier than the November 26 date agreed between both parties.
Senior Special Adviser to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told newsmen at a briefing, yesterday, in Abuja that only three of the girls were identified as Nigerians at the time of the burial.
She also said sufficient time was not given by the Italian government for adequate identification of the girls, stressing that the Federal Government would investigate the matter at the highest diplomatic level.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “It was shocking to watch the burial of these migrants on television, I think on November 17, because the information from the Italian Embassy to NAPTIP was the fact that these girls would be buried on November 26.
“We are asking the Italian authorities, and we have communicated a letter through the Italian Embassy here in Nigeria, why these girls were buried earlier.
“Secondly, where are the results of the pathological tests that were done? Who conducted the DNA tests? And how do we now identify that all 26 girls were Nigerians?
“From available information from Italy, about three girls can be identified to be Nigerians. Did Italy get the permission to go ahead with the burial of these girls, no matter their nationalities?
“We appeal to the Italian authorities, we are going to take this up at the highest diplomatic level and we are going to get answers.”