Compulsory Prisoner Transfer Agreement Signed By UK and Nigeria
Nigeria and the United Kingdom have signed a prisoner transfer agreement between the two countries. Consequently, citizens of either country who commit crimes will serve their sentences in their homeland.
Although, both countries already have prisoner-transfer treaties in place with several other states, the UK government said the UK-Nigeria agreement meant inmates could be “properly prepared for release into the community in which they will live following their release”.
It is expected the first prisoner transfers will take place before the end of this year thereby fulfilling one of the objectives outlined by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan following a meeting in 2011. There are already indications that one of the first ‘recipients‘ of the prisoner transfer agreement may be the convicted former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, who was sentenced to prison by a London court in April 2012.
According to UK Justice Minister Jeremy Wright, “Removing foreign national offenders is a key priority for the British government and the prisoner transfer agreement I signed this morning with the Nigerian attorney-general plays a significant role in supporting this.
“Both the United Kingdom and Nigeria have prisoner transfer arrangements with other countries and it is right that our two countries, which have such strong ties and shared interests, should develop our own arrangements.
“I strongly believe that this agreement will have significant benefits for both our countries.”
Under the terms of the agreement, a prisoner must have spent at least 12 months in a UK prison to be eligible for transfer to Nigeria. The agreement would also see the UK government extending millions of pounds in aid to the Federal Government for the rehabilitation of some local prisons for that purpose. It is estimated that there are around 600 Nigerians currently serving various terms in UK prisons while only one Briton is said to be serving in Nigeria.