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Nigerian footballers in Indian prison cry to federal government for help

Some Nigerian youths in India who claim to be professional footballers said they have been in jail for over two years for overstaying their visas.

In a video posted on Facebook on Friday, December 21, the footballers pleaded to the Nigerian government and Nigerians generally to come to their rescue.

It is not particularly clear whom the distraught footballers were addressing in the video to come to their aid. But with the constant repetition of ‘please ma’, they may be directly pleading to Abike Dabiri, the senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on foreign relations and diaspora.

Their spokesperson in the video said they are more than ten and have been asked to provide money for their tickets to be deported back to Nigeria. They, however, lamented that they had no money to pay for the tickets.

They claimed that the Nigerian Embassy in India is aware of their plights but had not done anything to rescue them from the prison.

The video is loosely transcribed below:

“Please ma, we need of Nigerians to help us. We have been in jail for two years for ordinary overstay in Kolkata in India. Please ma, we need the help of Nigeria. The embassy has been here two times nothing has been done.

“We have been judged to suffer in the jail for two years. We have been staying with criminals, hardened criminals in jail. After all, they said we have to provide our ticket and go back to Nigeria which we don’t have money. How can we get that money?

“Please ma, we need your help. We are more than 10, arrested since January 7, 2017. We have been in the jail suffering. The embassy knows about us. They have been here two times but nothing has been done.

“Please, we need your help ma. We need the help of Nigerians. We are suffering a lot here. The government of Kolkata in India, they said they cannot provide our ticket back home. We have to provide our tickets ourselves. How can we afford such money…more than 200,000 in Nigeria….Who wants to be sportsperson who cannot afford the tickets and we have suffered a lot in the jail for overstay for two years. This sounds ridiculous…please mummy, we need your help…”

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A source that spoke with Vanguard confirmed that the suspect, identified as Adam Idris Abubakar, was killed by the authorities on Tuesday, February 6.

The Nigerian Embassy in Riyadh, which had reportedly been informed of the latest execution, said it was embarrassed by the action of the Middle East country, having begun discussions with the country to spare the lives of the suspects.

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