Among the foreign nationals lodged in the jails of West Bengal,a substantial number belong to a tiny African nation Nigeria. Their strength over 20 is next only to Bangladesh nationals,who,at 309,form the biggest group of foreign inmates.
At Alipore Central Jail,14 Nigerians 10 undertrials and four convicts have been living there. In Presidency jail, five inmates are Nigerians,of which one has been already convicted.
Most interestingly,a bulk of them have been arrested not in connection with the drug trafficking but for duping people through online bank transactions.
They are very techno-savvy and lure people to their trap by telling them that they have won a lottery through text messages. And when people give them their mobile numbers and bank accounts,these swindlers rob them of their their money, an official of the Home Department told said.
Their knowledge of the banking system is very strong. Most of the people are quite good at making the most of the system, said Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee,who also holds the charge of the jail department.
Four of the Nigerian inmates are footballers who landed up in jails due to some visa issues,while the remaining have been charged with drug trafficking.
We have earned a dubious distinction and our image has been tarnished, an official of the Nigerian High Commission reportedly told the jail authorities when he visited the jail to render legal advice to the citizens.
However,the jail authorities find them very cooperative and well behaved. Most of them speak English very well and we get all co-operation from them, an official of the jail department said.
There are times when jail superintendent and other staff members play football with them. Some of the inmates also learn English,mathematics,while younger ones train in martial arts.