Sushma meets families of 11 Indians detained in Nigeria

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday met the families of 11 Indians detained in Nigeria and assured that the Indian mission in Abuja was providing all necessary assistance.

This information was tweeted by external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Communist Part of India-Marxist Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee had written to Sushma Swaraj last week requesting her to look into the imprisonment of 11 Indians, including a Bengali, following their arrest in Nigeria last year for sailing into that country’s waters.

The 11 Indians are employees of a shipping company.

The family members had petitioned the external affairs ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene in the matter.

In his letter, Banerjee said the 11 Indians were part of the ship MT Maro. They joined the ship in October 2013 in Ghana.

“The ship left Ghana for Camaroon and due to technical snag, was forced to anchor in the Port of Brass. On July 25 last year, the Nigerian navy arrested the workers of the ship and handed them over to the Economic Financial Crime Commission of Nigeria. The commission demanded money from the workers and when they failed to give them the money, fake charges were levelled against them,” he wrote.

He said the Nigerian commission was unable to find any evidence against the Indians.

“There were physical assaults on these 11 Indians and two of them suffered leg fractures in Nigerian prison,” Banerjee said in the letter.

“I urge you to look into this matter sympathetically and take steps for the release of these persons,” he wrote to Sushma Swaraj.

Banerjee on Tuesday tweeted a photograph of the families meeting Sushma Swaraj.

“Met @SushmaSwaraj ji along wd family members of 11 Indians jailed in Nigeria today. Thanks @SushmaSwaraj ji for the help.”

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