Namibia: Government Intervenes in Nigerian Abduction
Government Intervenes in Nigerian Abduction
THE Namibian Government has vowed to engage their Nigerian counterparts to have the, allegedly abducted, two minor children of a Namibian doctor, Dr Merlyn Ehileme, returned.
In a letter in The Namibian's possession, Wilbard Hellao says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "takes issues involving violation of the rights of children very seriously and it is doing everything to engage the Nigerian government to resolve the matter and to ensure the children are reunited with their biological mother in Namibia".
Hellao is the head of the bilateral affairs department in the ministry.
He signed the letter - marked as 'urgent' - on November 21 in his capacity then as the acting Permanent Secretary (PS).
According to Hellao, "the matter is already receiving Government's attention".
Hellao's letter came after Norman Tjombe, Ehileme's lawyer, urged the Namibian Government to "immediately put in motion its obligations under international customary law towards her and her minor children and afford diplomatic protection to them, by engaging in the necessary and appropriate efforts, including judicial proceedings against the government of Nigeria to result in the return of the Namibian children to Namibia and the reunification with their mother".
In October, Ehileme (maiden name Tsîbes), who was recently allegedly held hostage by her Nigerian in-laws, lodged a complaint with the Namibian Police, claiming that her two minor children were kidnapped by these same in-laws.
Following her alleged detention in Nigeria, Ehileme was allowed to return to Namibia but without her children aged three and one.
She said undertakings by her in-laws to return her children after she came back in July were nothing but empty promises.
Ehileme and her children left for the Nigerian state of Abia in April to attend the funeral of her husband, Greg Ehileme.
Greg Ehileme died in Windhoek during that same month.
Khomas Regional Crime Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa a month ago confirmed that Ehileme filed a complaint. "Because a foreign country is involved, issues need to be handled at that level." As a result, he said, Interpol has been contacted to assist.
Tjombe charged that under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Convention of the Rights of the Child, Namibia "is under legal obligation to ensure that the abduction of its citizens is not tolerated, and every and all necessary steps are taken to resolve the matter".
The lawyer warned that should nothing be done, Ehileme "intends to bring proceedings against the Government to compel it to do so".
According to Tjombe, it seems as if the Nigerian government is indifferent to Ehileme's plight "and in fact is, through its inaction, perpetuating the continuous commission of the crime of abduction".
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