The Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand, Nuhu Bamali, has asked Nigerians especially the youth leaving the country to do so through proper channels, saying over 1,000 Nigerians are languishing in Thai jails for different crimes.
Mr. Bamali made the plea while speaking at the Africa Gems and Jewellery Exhibition and Seminar in Abuja on Wednesday.
“Over 1,000 Nigerians are currently in jail in Thailand. We need to encourage young Nigerians leaving the country to do so through proper channels.”
In 2013, a former Nigerian ambassador to Thailand, Chudi Okafor, disclosed that one out of five Nigerians living in Thailand was serving a jail term for drug-related offences.
He also said the mission had been able to secure an agreement that allows Nigerians serving jail terms to be released at a point so that they could go and complete their terms in their home country.
Mr. Bamali said Nigerians in the mining and gemstone industry could find worthy partnership in Thailand as the country had made advances in the sector.
Present at the event was the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, who said that the country lost more than $3 billion per annum through illegal export of gemstones.
“Despite the huge potential in gemstone mining, phenomenal loss of revenue and damage to the environment remain major causes of concern.
“This is due to the uniqueness of the occurrence of gem deposits and the quantity to value per quantity advantage of gemstones which make illegal activities and smuggling rampant, thus the inability of the sector to deliver on expected economic outcomes,” Mr. Fayemi added.
Nigeria is currently focusing and investing in the mining sector in an attempt to diversify its economy and rely less on revenue from oil.