Government Spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay said Botswana is not in any ‘clean up Nigerians campaign’ which was reported by the Nigerian online newspaper Daily Post.
He told Sunday Standard on Friday that he is not aware of any Nigerian national who is said to have been unfairly arrested or any plan to “deport a majority of Nigerians from Botswana”.
“If there is anything that the Nigerian Embassy is complaining about its citizens, it should be addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations. Of deportations, the immigration office will be the right to answer that question,” said Dr Ramsay in an interview.
He laughed at “the large extent of the private media’s interest on a report by a Nigerian tabloid”, saying ever since the report by Nigeria’s Daily Post, he has been getting many calls from different media houses and would not comment any further on the report. He said he was surprised as to why the media was more interested on the issue, especially when it was coming from a Nigerian tabloid.
The Daily Post reported that many law-abiding Nigerians with official permits doing their legitimate businesses here in Botswana were massively arrested, beaten, detained and were refused visits by their relatives.
Directorate of Intelligent Services Chief Isaac Kgosi was not prepared to share any information with Sunday Standard when contacted, saying that he was not aware of any information or reports about any arrests or torture of Nigerians by the government security agents.
“Why don’t you ask immigration department about deportations? I am in a meeting right now…and I don’t know what you are talking about,” said Kgosi as he hung up the phone.
However, in its report, the Daily Post reported that “the big boss of the security agency was involved and personally decided who should be put in which prison and ordering the beating of any person who asks what he has done”.
The report also stated that DIS Chief Kgosi was quoted by a Nigerian referred to as Lawrence Bassey, who claimed to be under deportation threat, telling the Nigerian detainees that, “Botswana does not want you Nigerians here; what we are doing is operation clean up Nigerians. If your home country cannot take care of you, it is your business not ours, so you guys must leave.”
About 27 Nigerians were alleged to have been in detention and some of them were said to have been deported, according to Nigerian media reports.
If the Daily Post report is anything to go by, Nigeria and Botswana’s relationship could sour, as Nigerians are calling on their President Goodluck Jonathan to react.