The Nigerian government has promised to launch a thorough investigation into the death of Chizoba Favor Eze, who passed away in an Ethiopian prison on March 12, 2023, after purported physical aggression. The assurance was communicated in a statement issued by the Spokesperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Wednesday. According to Balogun, the Chairman of NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, expressed her condolences to Eze’s family and showed concern about the condition of some Nigerians imprisoned in Ethiopia, many of whom are serving sentences for drug-related offenses.
Balogun also revealed that the Nigerian Mission in Ethiopia has suggested a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ethiopian authorities to transfer convicted individuals to Nigeria to complete their jail terms, and is waiting for a response from Ethiopia. In 2019, Ethiopia had granted amnesty to Nigerian prisoners, but a number of them returned to Ethiopia and were re-arrested for similar drug-related crimes, according to the statement.
The death of Chizoba Eze and the condition of Nigerians serving jail terms in Ethiopia have raised concerns among Nigerian officials, prompting the NIDCOM to push for a resolution of the issue. The proposed MOU is expected to ensure that Nigerians imprisoned in Ethiopia are returned to Nigeria to serve their sentences, while also protecting their rights. The Nigerian government’s commitment to investigating Eze’s death shows its determination to ensure justice for Nigerians abroad and to address the issue of drug-related crimes among its citizens.