By Festus Ahon
ASABA – A Nigerian inmate identified as Odemu Efe, has died of an undisclosed ailment at the Kaliti Prisons in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The deceased was among the about 150 abandoned Nigerians at the prison facility who are being detained and awaiting trial in the African country over unproven allegations of possession of hard drugs and money laundering.
A Nigerian, Miss Chika Nwachukwu had, two months ago, raised the alarm over the poor condition of the inmates, a development that prompted officials of the Federal Government to assure that the inmates were not abandoned.
This came as diplomatic sources disclosed that several of the inmates had fallen ill recently, apparently due to malnourishment as they are allegedly fed once a day on a meal of white rice, without sauce, all year round.
It was learned that Efe, who is said to have hailed from Warri area of Delta State, died on July 13 as a result of poor medication when he took ill.
Sources said all efforts to draw the attention of the Nigerian officials to his deteriorating condition did not yield the desired results.
Accusing Nigerian officials of showing lack of concern about the welfare of the inmates in the foreign land, a source said there was lack of commitment on the part of the home government to facilitate their repatriation even when the Ethiopian authorities were willing to release the inmates.
The source said: “As we speak, some inmates are very sick and they are not getting good Medicare. Nobody knows whether they will survive since Odemu died in similar condition.
“The Federal Government should please activate the relevant ministries and agencies to bring succour to these citizens languishing in foreign land by bringing them back home.
“Most of them are willing to be responsible for any cost incurred in the process, and they are also ready to face trial at home for the alleged offences for which they are being detained.”
The source appealed to the chairman of South East Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi to mobilise stakeholders in the region to free the inmates, disclosing that over eighty percent of them are from the South East.