No fewer than 25 Nigerians are currently languishing in various prisons in Vietnam, the Nigerian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Matthias Ojih-Okafor, has said.
Ojih-Okafor made the disclosure in Enugu on Tuesday at an interactive
session, organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines
and Agriculture (ECCIMA) with the Enugu Business Community and
Vietnamese delegation, attending the ongoing 24th Enugu International
He listed some assistance the Nigerian Embassy in Vietnam had given
to the prisoners as moral support through visits and financial
assistance to both the victims and their families.
The ambassador said that the embassy was constrained by inadequate funds to assist Nigerians in various prisons in Vietnam.
He appealed to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the
National Assembly for increased allocation to the embassy to enable it
render legal services to Nigerians in Vietnam prisons.
Ojih-Okafor warned Nigerians living in Vietnam not to engage in criminal activities like drug peddling for their safety in that country.
“When I resumed work as ambassador, I visited all Nigerians in
Vietnam prisons. The first thing I did was to give them moral and
“We also ensured that we send a staff of the embassy to represent
them at the court as well as provide financial support to the families
of those incarcerated in prisons,’’ Ojih-Okafor said.
The Enugu State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr Jude
Akubilo, pledged the commitment of the government to ensuring that Enugu
became a food-exporting state.
“We will continue
to partner with the Vietnamese, especially in agriculture. In Enugu
State, we have over 5,000 hectares of land for rice farming.
“Enugu State will not only be sufficient in agriculture but will
export 80 per cent of its agriculture produce by year 2020,’’ he said.
Earlier in a welcome address,
the President of ECCIMA, Dr Theo Okonkwo, promised that the organisers
of the trade fair would ensure that industrialists and foreign investors
were accommodated in the development of the country.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industries
(NASSI), in Enugu State, Chief Ben Njoku, implored the government of
Vietnam to assist Nigerian farmers in finding lasting solution in the
preservation of some farm produce.