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Tourists from Nigeria Are in Batumi Prison

22.08.2007
Early in August, frontier police detained three Nigerian citizens. They were accused for illegal crossing the border. Nigerian citizens say that they have not violated the law. They are concerned about their spoilt holiday rather than the money they have to pay as a bail.

Georgian law enforcers’ official accusations are the following: “Three Nigerian citizens, Frince Chinedum Ulunta, Ahamufule Stefan Oluocha and Nikolas Igundu crossed Georgian border at 8:10 AM and entered Turkish territory. Georgian frontiers noticed them though could not arrest them. Turkish frontiers offered the tourists to deport them to Nigeria; but they refused. Finally detainees were put in charge of Georgian frontiers.”  

Nigerian detainees were bailed for 5 thousand lari each for the crime and as they could not pay the bail the court sent them to pretrial detention. Later on, the accused signed plea-bargain. Only Frince Ulunta could pay the bail. Now he is in Tbilisi and tries to collect money for his friends.

Ulunta said that he is footballer and plays in Nigerian Championship. He and his friends did not arrive in Georgia together. “I have many friends in Georgia. I accepted their advice to spend summer holidays here. I liked your country very much. People are very nice and hospitable. I cannot compare you with Nigerian people. You cannot stop a Nigerian in the street to speak with him.”

Ulunta now complains that he has spent most of his holiday in Georgian prison. “I do not want to recall my experience in prison. I could not eat. Having arrested us they appointed a lawyer for me whom I paid 600 USD to bring proper food and provide legal service. He said it was impossible to send food in the prison and I eat prison food. Unfortunately, that lawyer never met me again”

Non-governmental organization Human Rights Center protected the football player.  At the moment he is free and dreams about Georgian girls. However, he has to raise money to release his friends from prison. “I do not know I might have some problems in my football club too but I have to get the money the Prosecutor’s Office has bailed us for.”

Despite pleading himself guilty Ulunta is surprised by legislative situation in Georgia. “Similar situation never occurs in Africa. They might have arrested me because I was from Africa.” Ulunta said that they accompanied Turkish citizen, certain Muhamed to Batumi from Tbilisi. Then Muhamed took them to Turkey by his car. “Initially he promised us to take to Trapzon. Having arrived at the place he offered to go to Istanbul. Since Istanbul was long way we decided to return to Georgia. We got through custom’s house without any problems but later the police detained us.”

Bakur Bolkvadze, lawyer for the Human Rights Center said that “we did our best and my friend greatly supported me. Our aim was to release at least one of three Nigerian citizens who will try to assist other two afterwards.”

Emzar Diasamidze, Batumi

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