Russia talks tough over FG’s detention of sailors
… Accuses Nigeria of alleged duplicity
Dispensing with all diplomatese, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has said that the continued detention of 15 Russian sailors by Nigerian authorities was a threat to diplomatic relations.
The 15 Russian nationals are currently on trial for allegedly violating Nigeria’s territorial waters.
The tough position of the Russian authorities was voiced by the Ministry’s spokesperson, Mr. Alexander Lukashevich, at a press briefing in Moscow.
Russia’s reaction to the situation was contained in a statement by its Embassy, in Abuja, on Saturday.
The statement read: “In fact, it is not the first time when the assurances of goodwill towards Russian nationals by the Nigerian authorities have proved to be totally untrue. For decades we have been building friendly relations between the two countries, and now it seems that the Nigerian authorities are eager to put it to the stress test not worrying much about possible negative consequences.”
According to the statement, on January 28, 2013, a Lagos State Magistrate’s Court granted a two-week extension for investigators to carry out preliminary investigation into the Myre Seadiver case.
This, the embassy noted, was without considering the fact that the 15 Russian crew members of the MV Myre Seadiver had been in custody for more than three months.
It expressed sadness that they were being held without formal charges, while hearing of the embassy’s appeal for bail had been postponed to February 14, 2013.
When contacted, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ogbole Ahmedu-0de, said that, since the matter was already in court, he could not comment on it.
“Like the (Russian) statement itself admits, the matter is undergoing the legal process. It will be out of place to comment on an issue which is already in court,” he said.
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