Four Nigerians have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping six people in Malaysia, the Nigerian High Commissioner to that country, Ambassador Peter Anegbeh, said on Monday.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the suspects allegedly kidnapped four Nigerians, one Malaysian and an Indonesian in late June.
Anegbeh noted with regret that hostage-taking involving “supposedly Nigerian students” had become a common trend in recent times in Malaysia.
He said, “The unfortunate trend is portraying Nigeria in negative light in spite of government‘s efforts to project the country‘s good image through its ‘Good People, Great Nation’ slogan.”
Anegbeh said the group of Nigerians allegedly involved in the kidnap cases were “fake students,” who were desperate to receive ransom from the families of their victims.
He said, “They demand as much as $10,000. They also engage in other vices such as cultism, drug trafficking and robbery.
“It is highly regrettable, because we have discovered that out of the 7,500 Nigerian students in that country, only 3,500 are genuine. Some are also victims of human racketeering, carried out in collaboration with some Malaysian nationals.
“They deceive Nigerians into believing there are schools and job opportunities in Malaysia, and when such people arrive in the country, they get stranded and employ all means to survive.”
The envoy also announced that four Nigerians were currently on death row for various offences.
He said the Malaysian authorities had introduced new measures to address minor offences, such as overstaying in the country as a result of visa expiration, which, according to him, carries a two-week jail term before deportation.
NAN reports that Nigeria and Malaysia are signatories to the agreement on Preferential Trade and Free Movement of Goods and Persons under the D-8 policy.