On February 9, 2012, four Nigerian man were arrested in Tamil Nadu, India.
They were accused of cheating an Indian after informing him that he had won an online lottery.
Meanwhile, the men, identified as Oladapo Obasoto, Abiodun Oyekunle, Paul Osagie and Dickson Dickson, are insisting they are legitimate businessmen who were wrongly accused of a crime they knew nothing about.
Saturday Sun learnt that they were arrested, charged to court and granted bail, but were remanded because they were unable to meet their bail conditions. Desperate, they contacted their lawyer who filed a petition requesting for realistic conditions.
This was granted and while they were on their way out of the court premises, they where re- arrested and moved to the Special Refugee Camp for Sri Lanka nationals. They are still in the camp.
It was also gathered that attempts by the Nigerian ambassador to secure their release have failed.
Frustrated also by failed attempts to secure their release by Nigerians based in India, the men, through a letter, raised the alarm, calling on the Nigerian government and the Civil Liberties Organization to come to their rescue.
According to Abiodun Oyekunle, who wrote on behalf of others, they were falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. “We were arrested in February, 2012 by the police.
They claim that we deceived someone into believing that he won an online lottery. We were ordered to submit our international passports along with two local sureties as bail conditions after spending almost five months in prison, awaiting trial.”
He claimed that as soon as they stepped out of prison, on April 24, 2012, police re-arrested and took them to the Special Refugee Camp for Sri Lanka and detained them with 32 E order of foreigners act 1946 governed by the Central government of India, which is not meant for any commonwealth nation.
“We challenged the order, with the assistance of Nigerian Embassy and the Madras High Commission directed the government to release us from the camp.
This order was given in April 2012, and till date, nothing has been done, despite the fact that Nigerian Embassy signed an undertaking on our behalf.
“No one has bothered to take us to court, ever since we were brought to the camp, in April 2012. Why has Tamil Nadu government been denying us the freedom the court gave us?
We have submitted our documents and are ready to go through the normal process to prove that we are innocent.”
The men say they have been subjected to all forms of humiliation and inhuman treatments since they were arrested.
“We have been subjected to all kinds of physical and mental torture all because we are Nigerians. The camp is full of all kinds of dangerous reptiles while we have access to little or no form of medical attention.
We have been deprived access to our family and above all, they disregarded the ambassador who travelled all the way from New Delhi to Tamil Nadu.”
They claim that some Indians were also arrested in connection with the same offence, but were granted bail immediately.
According to them, “once any crime is committed and a Nigerian is spotted, he becomes the suspect without any form of investigation. That’s not fair. They see all Nigerians as criminals.
Even senior officers do acknowledge the fact that our detention is a violation of our human rights, and advised us to cry out to our government or remain in the camp forever.”
The order for bail According to the court document made available to Saturday Sun, the matter is a case between the three Nigerians and the State by the Inspector of Police, Cyber Crime Cell, Central Crime Branch, Egmore , Chennai 600 008.