NASS probes death of 26 Nigerians at sea

The National Assembly has launched a probe of circumstances leading to the deaths of 26 Nigerian women on the Mediterranean Sea, en route Italy.
Strong indications have also emerged that the Senate may summon Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama. In a motion, tagged: “The death of 26 young Nigerian girls on route Italy,” and sponsored by Senator Rose Oko, Senate mandated its committees on Diaspora, Foreign Affairs and Special Duties to investigate the unfortunate incident and report back to the Senate within four weeks.
Across the aisle, the House of Representatives has mandated its committees on Foreign Affairs and Human Rights to liaise with the Libyan Embassy to unravel the cause of the deaths.
The House’s enquiry was sequel to a motion on the death of the 26 migrants moved by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila under matters of urgent national importance at yesterday’s plenary.
The deceased were said to be between the ages of 14 and 18. They were found dead while attempting to cross from Libya to Europe. The bodies of the 26 female Nigerian migrants were found by Spanish warship Cantabria, who brought the bodies to Salerno, Italy, after they were purportedly sexually abused and murdered.
Italian prosecutors have began an investigation into the death of the teenage Nigerian girls.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has also said it is monitoring developments and will take a position soon.
During the investigation, the joint Senate committee is expected to invite Onyeama and other federal agencies.
In the motion, Oko told her colleagues that the mass exodus of our young boys and girls illegally attempting to go to Europe especially to Italy and Spain has become worrisome.
She noted that the journeys are through the perilous and hazardous Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Most of these young persons have under gone several hazards ranging from the searing heat and biting cold of the Sahara desert, the marauding Tuareg bandits, assaults, abuse and rape; and the dangerous sea waves often on rickety rubber boats,” she said.
She further claimed in her motion that as at May, 2017, it was reported that about 10, 000 Nigerians had perished along the Sahara desert, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea route.
In the House, Gbajabiamila noted that since the incident, nothing has been heard about the other 34 passengers or their identities or the actual cause of the death of the Nigerian nationals.
Gbajabiamila added: “From my understanding, they were going from Libya to Italy. We were meant to understand that there were about 60 persons (in the ship). No one knows the cause of death. The committees on Foreign Affairs and Human Rights should liaise with the Libyan Embassy, so that we can know what happened.”