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Nigerians repatriated from Benin Republic go back – Envoy

The Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Dr Olukayode Aluko, has said that some Nigerians repatriated from the Republic of Benin for one reason or the other do find their way back to the country.

This is as the envoy says some commercial sex workers and ‘yahoo boys’ (Internet fraudsters) in the neighbouring country are of Nigerian nationality.

Aluko, in a conversation with our correspondent on Sunday, while partially addressing the ‘japa’ trend, said on the average, tens of Nigerians were often arrested by the Beninese authorities on a daily basis.

“Among them are young girls, prostitutes – 13 years old, 14 years old, and 19 years old,” he said.

Speaking on what the Federal Government was doing to address the situation, he said, “We are engaging. We know it may be out of frustration, how do you stop that? Most times, we would ensure the release of some of them.”

“They become burden of the embassy. They talk to us, and what we do is (find how to) make their way back to Nigeria, but we’ve had instances where we repatriate them. The host authorities cooperate with us, but then, they come back to do the same thing,” he told The PUNCH.

“There is no Beninese you see that is into prostitution, so its so easy to know that these people are either from Nigeria or other countries, and in most cases they are Nigerians,” he added.

He said innocent Nigerians arrested in the country were often released, but those who were confirmed to have committed crimes including fraud, were only asked to get lawyers.

“Look, it’s so embarrassing here, on the average, they arrest about 25 Nigerians everyday over this same issue (cyber fraud), young people.

“They now embarrass innocent Nigerians,” the envoy said.

He said the fact that policy of the Economic Community of West African States allowed one to travel into any ECOWAS states within 90 days did not mean such privilege should be abused to perpetuate crimes.

The ambassador was reacting to the arrest of a Nigerian and student of Cyprus International University, Okail Shedrack, who was reportedly arrested at Porto-Novo in Cotonou, Benin Republic on February 7, 2023.

The PUNCH gathered his arrest was linked to an alleged cyber crime.

A document obtained by our correspondent, reportedly given to an ally of the student, translated from French, revealed that Shedrack was arrested for suspected cyber fraud-related case.

The Nigerian envoy said Benin Republic residents had no problems living with Nigerians, adding the country’s economy was even largely dependent on Nigeria.

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