The Federal Government is working out a prisoners’ transfer agreement with China, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, announced in Abuja on Thursday.
Onyeama made the announcement at a news conference on the achievements of the current administration since it came into power in the past two years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that thousands of Nigerians are being held behind bars in China for various offences, including those attracting death sentence.
Human rights groups in Nigeria have, however, been drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the plights of the Nigerian prisoners.
A group, the Black African Re-orientation and Development Organisation, recently told the government to secure the release of no fewer than 6,000 Nigerians in Chinese prisons.
Onyeama said the release of the prisoners could not be facilitated because there was no existing agreement between Nigeria and China on the transfer of prisoners.
“The issue of Nigerians in prisons in China is something we are dealing with and the prisoner transfer agreement is something we have to have an agreement on with China.
“We are working to have one in place. We have taken that on board and we are trying to get our prisoners to serve the rest of their terms here.”
The minister disclosed that government had stepped in to plead for commutation of prisoners on death row in the Asian nation.
“The Federal Government has on several occasions reiterated that it would be impossible to get Nigerians on death row in different countries repatriated.
“This is because they do not fall within the prisoner transfer or exchange agreements.’’