One out of every five Nigerians living in Thailand is serving a jail term for drug related offences, Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador Chudi Okafor, has said.
Okafor in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday said out of the 2000 Nigerians living in Thailand, 400 are serving various jail terms.
To stem the tide, the envoy said the Nigerian mission in Thailand had employed different strategies, including town hall meetings and prison visitations, to give Nigerians proper orientation on living in their host country.
He said there was a need for more efforts to be made by parents to deter their children and wards from travelling to Asia in general without any genuine mission.
Okafor, “There are more responsible Nigerians who respect the rules and regulations of this beautiful country but what we are also saying is that from home, these Nigerians are not from the moon. They are from our parents; they are from our villages. They are from our towns; they are from our states.
“What it means is that we should show more concern. We should show more interest right from our villages in Nigeria. We should be able to sensitise our people. You don’t just go abroad for the sake of going abroad. At the end of the day you find yourself being shamed, all in the name of going to prison.
“We are reasoning together with them and saying, ‘yes, we have challenges and difficulties in Nigeria but there is no place like home.’ The time has come for our parents and relatives at home to begin to ask questions. What are you going to do? Asia is not one of the regions in the world where jobs are lying on the streets as it used to in parts of America and Europe.”
The envoy also disclosed that the mission had been able to secure an agreement that allowed Nigerians serving jail terms to be released at a point so that they could go and complete their terms in the country.