Condemnations have continued to trail the deportation of over 70 Nigerians said to be destitute from Anambra state by the Lagos state government.
A Human Rights group, Youth and Conflict Resolution Initiatives, YCRI, described the action as cruel, irrational, lawless, a crime and violation of the inalienable rights of those that were deported. According to the group, the action challenges the legitimacy of the federation.
While condemning the attack, YCRI in a release by its Director of International Relations, Mr Efemena Agadama, said such barbaric acts should not be allowed to continue and called on the federal government to sanction Lagos state to forestall a recurrence.
“The federal government should sanction the Lagos state government for deporting Nigerians from Lagos state to Anambra state even when most of the deportees were not from Anambra state. That cruel and condemnable action violated the inalienable rights of those Nigerians that were deported and also challenges the legitimacy of the federation.
“This shouldn’t be about the Igbos but about Nigeria as it is an infringement on the sanctity of laws and the inviolability of the federation. To forcefully and inhumanely deport any citizen of Nigeria within the territorial integrity of Nigeria is irrational, lawless and a crime. It should never be justified or accepted
“On the unending defence of the illegal action by the Lagos state government and the Lagos state chapters of the ACN and CNPP, we view the act as a direct replica of what Nigerians suffer in foreign countries when being deported by immigration officials.
“Why should a reasonable state government arrest people from the streets, incarcerate them for over six months and later drive them, in their tired bodies, hundreds of kilometres across several states just to dump them in Upper Iweka Bridge at midnight?
“What is the legal or moral defence in deporting poor people from the streets where they are a bit safe only to dump them in a vulnerable place at midnight where they are totally unsafe? Why did they choose 3am of all time if what they did was legal, fair and rational?
“We won’t be silent in the face of gross human rights abuses. If the Lagos state government could deport Nigerians within the territorial integrity of Nigeria, what then do we expect foreigners to do to Nigerians living in other countries where immigration officials most times could be inhumane?
“We do hope that the Presidency, National Assembly, and the judiciary will put politics aside and uphold the sanctity of the laws of the federation and that the Lagos state government will stop defending the illegal act and find ways to support the deportees who have been rendered vulnerable at Upper Iweka Bridge.
“This will prevent other states from copying such lawless acts that could lead to widespread anarchy and hatred within the federation”, the group reiterated.