The Federal Government on Thursday summoned the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto and protested the execution of four Nigerians killed for trafficking drugs to the Asian country, despite appeals.
The Undersecretary, Economic and Consular Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador, Bokunolu Onemola, who met with Purwanto in Abuja, conveyed Nigeria’s position to the envoy.
He said the men should not have been executed because of the robust relationship between Nigeria and Indonesia.
The Indonesian government had executed by firing squad Jamiu Owolabi Abashin, 50, Martin Anderson, 50, Okwudili Oyatanze, 41, and Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, 47, and other nationals for drug trafficking, on Tuesday.
But Purwanto in an interview with journalists after the meeting with Onemola, insisted that the execution of the convicts was carried out after all legal proceedings had been exhausted.
He said the case had been on for 10 years and Indonesia needed to make sure adequate opportunity was given to the convicts within the limit of the law, stressing that his government suspended the moratorium on death penalty due to the gravity and dangerous impact of the drugs on the citizens.
“There was nothing we could do for those four Nigerians because every legal process was completed and only then did the government of Indonesia implement the decision of the court,” the envoy stated.
He explained that Indonesia “suffers from the harsh reality of drug trafficking as about 4.5 million of our citizens especially the youths, are affected by narcotics,” adding that only about 1.8 million of them had been rehabilitated.
He added that between 33 and 50 victims of the drugs die every month, describing it as unfortunate.
On the issue of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement between both countries, Purwanto said ,“Indonesia will be happy to do that but unfortunately we do not have the legal basis.We have to wait for a new legislation in Indonesia but then we have to convince our members of parliament to do that.”
Commenting on the incident, Onemola said that irrespective of the fact that Nigeria had protested the executions on the basis of the subsisting friendly relations between both countries, Nigerians must desist from drug trafficking.
He added that Nigeria would not recall its ambassador to Indonesia because of the executions.
He said, “One message I would like to convey to my compatriots is that they should know that drug offences in Indonesia attract capital punishment and our appeal is that they should avoid going to these countries to commit these offences because we cannot change their laws.
“They are a sovereign nation, we can only appeal to them, but our citizens should know this and desist from drug trafficking.”