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Yudhoyono signs anti-drug deal in Nigeria

Publication Date : 04-02-2013


Responding to a move by Nigeria that calls for the Indonesian government to commute the death sentence of drug convicts, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries to combat drug trafficking.

The agreement, which was signed by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and his Nigerian counterpart, Joy Ogwu, detailed the cooperation between the two countries to exchange information on drug-dealing networks, said Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN) head Anang Iskandar, who joined Yudhoyono’s entourage on his three-country visit.

Anang said as quoted by Antara that the Indonesian officials were very concerned with Nigerian drug networks operating in Indonesia.

Currently, there are at least 13 Nigerian drug traffickers on death row and 12 others locked-up in
penitentiaries in Indonesia.

Anang, however, said that there was no special request from Nigerian officials to commute the death sentences.

“The Nigerian Government has not requested for the extradition of its citizens that have been convicted in Indonesia,” said Anang.

During his meeting with Yudho-yono, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, however, did express concern over the fate of Nigerian drug convicts in Indonesia.

“President Jonathan requested a stay of execution for Nigerians on death row in Indonesia while both explore an agreement on the exchange of prisoners,” Jonathan’s special media adviser Reuben Abati said.

For Indonesia, Nigeria has been, not only one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, but also one of the primary sources of drugs smuggled into the country. One of the recent crackdowns on drugs involving Nigerian nationals took place in December last year when customs and excise officers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, nabbed four Nigerians alongside dozen of other foreigners after the office seized 354 grams of crystal methamphetamine worth about US$50,000.

Following the signing of the MoU, which was only one of many agreements in different sectors, dozens of top Indonesian businessmen solidified new commitments.

The business forum, which was held on Sunday morning (Sunday afternoon Jakarta time) in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, concluded Yudhoyono’s two-day Nigerian visit.

Abati also said that Jonathan had agreed to support Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu’s bid for the post of the World Trade Organisation’s next director general.

“Both leaders agreed to support each other also on the basis of reciprocity for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2014-2016 period,” he went on.

Abati said the two government heads also agreed to foster closer bilateral partnerships on counterterrorism and training cooperations involving military personnel of both countries.

The Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-300 carrying the president, First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and the delegation then left for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Yudhoyono is expected to have another round of business talks and perform umrah.

During the visit, Yudhoyono is expected to sign an agreement to end a freeze on the recruitment of Indonesian migrant workers that has been in place since early 2011. That ban followed the beheading of Ruyati, an Indonesian domestic worker who had been convicted of murdering her Saudi employer in June last year.


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