Lagos Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana (SAN), said on Friday in Lagos that the human rights community would challenge the Federal Government if any prisoner repatriation programme was implemented in the country.
Falana told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme, which would enable Nigerians serving sentences in foreign prisons to be repatriated to the country to complete their jail terms, would infringe the prisoners’ rights to personal liberty.
He noted that the National Assembly had enacted the law to facilitate the repatriation of Nigerian prisoners from the United Kingdom and other places, adding that lawyers were ready to challenge the law in court.
“As far as our law is concerned, only a person who has committed an offence in Nigeria can be tried in Nigeria, jailed in Nigeria and admitted into our prisons.
“As soon as the law is published, I can assure you that those of us in the human rights community will challenge it”, Falana said.
He said the programme would destroy the Nigerian prison system and make the country a dumping ground for criminals.
However, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch, said there was nothing wrong with the repatriation of prisoners.
“A convict has no right to say where he wants to serve out his sentence; there is no such rights.
“Immediately you are sentenced, you can be taken anywhere to serve, especially if there is an agreement between the countries”, Ubani said.
Also, Mr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), said people who had disgraced Nigeria through criminal conducts outside the country, should be sent back home to serve their sentences.
Pinheiro said such prisoners should not be allowed to enjoy the comfort of foreign prisons.
“There is nothing wrong for them to be brought back to Nigeria to complete their sentences”, he said. (NAN)