by Segun Odeleye
When he hosted the new Indonesian ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, two days ago at the presidential villa, Pres. Goodluck Jonathan began negotiations with him for a moratorium on three Nigerians who are facing imminent execution in that country.
The three Nigerians are Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise (39), Okwudili Oyatanze (40), and Spanish born Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami (45). They are facing execution alongside six other foreign nationals for drug-related offences by the Indonesian authorities.
Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, rejected pleas for clemency, saying the country is suffering a drug emergency and already, Indonesia’s attorney-general, Muhammad Prasetyo, says preparations have been concluded at the execution site were they are to face a firing squad.
It is unclear when the execution will take place, but yesterday, Australian Andrew Chan (31), his country man, Myuran Sukumaran (33), Agbaje Salami, and Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso (30) from the Philippines were moved to Nusakambangan, a high security prison island where executions are conducted.
Other countries with nationals to be executed are Brazil, France and Ghana.
At the meeting in the presidential villa where Indonesian ambassador Purwanto submitted his letter of credence, President Jonathan pleaded with the Indonesians for clemency for the Nigerians who were nabbed running drugs, while in prison.
According to a source at the presidential villa who spoke anonymously with The Scoop because he is not authorised to speak on the matter: “The president met with the Indonesian delegation and was quite persuasive in making the case that a moratorium be placed on the execution of the Nigerians on death row.”
The source however said that the government is not coming out to make statements or make a show about its efforts in trying to ensure that the lives of the Nigerian citizens are spared because “in this political season, if anything goes wrong during the negotiations, opponents of the president would not consider the efforts put in and will simply make a meal out of the issue.”
Other countries, and even Amnesty International, have been pleading with the Indonesian government to not go ahead with the planned execution. Brazil postponed accepting the credentials of Indonesia’s newly designated envoy in protest, while Australia called for a ‘reciprocation’ of the $1 billion 2004 tsunami aid package by sparing the lives of its citizens.