Nigeria’s ambassador to Morocco, Sen. Abdallah Wali, on Sunday said no fewer than 100 Nigerians were currently languishing in Moroccan Prisons.
Wali told Newsmen in Sokoto that most of them were being held for offences relating to illegal migration, drugs and petty crimes.
According to him, “there is no existing protocol between Nigeria and Morocco regarding repatriation of Nigerian prisoners or Moroccan prisoners to their respective countries.
“What we do is that the embassy frequently visits Nigerian prisoners in various prisons spread across the country,” he said.
The envoy also said that during such visits, the embassy officials listened to the prisoners and collated their requests for onward transmission to the authorities.
“So that they get attention, whether it is medical, sometimes even on the food they eat.
“Sometimes they also need access to some things that are not provided in the prisons,” Wali said.
According to the Ambassador, sometimes, the King of Morocco pardons prisoners, including Nigerians.
He also said that there were currently about 100 Nigerians legally resident in the North African country.
“But, we have a couple of thousands of Nigerians illegally resident too inside Morocco,” he said.
Wali said that the mission was partnering with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja to stem the tide of illegal migration of Nigerians to Morocco.
He said that the mission had conducted some series of workshops to sensitise Nigerians to that “especially Nigerians who come from areas that are prone to visiting Morocco illegally.
“The whole idea of visiting Morocco illegally is because of its proximity to Europe.
“It takes only 15 kilometres to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Spain,” he said.
Wali expressed regret that many Nigerians were often stranded in Morocco, as such, became illegal migrants.
He stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja had tried to sensitise Nigerians against illegal migration through the Moroccan route.
“This is because of the risk involved in travelling, the risk involved in staying as illegal residents in Morocco and the risk involved in crossing over to Europe.
“So, we hope that with time the number will continue to decline,” Wali said.
The Envoy noted that Nigeria was a robust nation and one of the emerging economies in the world.
He also maintained that Nigeria would be one of the leading emerging economies in the world, in the coming years.
Wali, therefore, advised Nigerians to remain at home to become local entrepreneurs and develop the nation.
He also commended the Federal Government for taking plausible measures to shore up the funding of the nation’s missions abroad. [NAN]