The Federal Government of Nigeria has tackled Italy over the burial date of the drowned immigrants given to it by the country. This was disclosed by the senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa in a conference on Monday.
According to her, the Italian embassy had given Nigeria a different date for the burial which differs from the date the migrants were actually buried. She said, “It was shocking to watch the burial of these migrants on television… the information from the Italian embassy to National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) was the fact that these girls would be buried on November 26.”
She disclosed that National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), was informed by the Italian embassy that the burial would take place on November 26 which, however, took place on 17th of the same month.
Abike Dabiri alongside Abdulrahim Shuaibu, a representative of NAPTIP, said that a letter has been sent to the Italian envoy in Nigeria, demanding explanations on the matter. “We are asking the Italian authorities, and we have communicated a letter through the Italian embassy here in Nigeria, why these girls were buried nine days before the agreed date.
“Secondly, where are the results of the pathological tests that were done, who conducted the DNA tests and how do we now identify that all 26 girls were Nigerians?
“From available information coming from Italy as I speak, about three girls can be identified to be Nigerians. Did Italy get the permission to go ahead with the burial of these girls no matter their nationalities?
“We appeal to the Italian authorities, we are going to take this up at the highest diplomatic level and we are going to get answers.”
The presidential aide also disclosed that the director-general of NAPTIP was currently in Italy working out further communications on the next step to take. “The fact is at the other end, they are not willing to save irregular migrants anymore so it is going to get tougher and dangerous,” she said.
“Yes, the administration should do the needful but the most important thing is awareness.”