About 500 Nigerian have been confirmed to have been convicted of drug-related offences in Switzerland.
This confirmation came as the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and those of the Swiss Federal Immigration Office, on Monday in Abuja, met over the unfortunate death of a 29-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker in March, at Zurich Airport, shortly before he was due to be sent home on a special flight to Lagos.
The Nigerian, a convicted drug dealer who had been in Switzerland since 2005, was due to board the flight with 15 others, who had refused to leave the country despite expulsion orders.
He was said to have been on a hunger strike in protest at his extradition and later fell ill shortly after he was forcibly restrained and immediate attempts to resuscitate him failed, following which he died on the tarmac.
But at the Foreign Affairs headquarters in Zone 3, the officials from both sides first met behind closed doors prior to an open session where journalists were invited for briefing.
Confirming the conviction, the leader of the six-man Swiss delegation, Mr Alard du Bois-Reymond, disclosed that there were currently about 1,700 Nigerians seeking asylum in Switzerland apart from 1,800 living in the country on a permanent residency.
Christian Okeke, Abuja
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
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