Abike Dabiri-Erewa

The senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has described the death sentence passed on eight Nigerians in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) as unfortunate.

Eight Nigerians were sentenced to death on Wednesday in Sharjah, UAE, for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines (ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.

Dabiri-Erewa said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

The presidential aide who expressed concern over the development, however, said the incident was not an actual description of personalities of people of Nigeria.

“It is an unfortunate incident, but it is not an incident that defines who we are, as a people.

“If a few Nigerians have committed a crime for which they are being punished, thousands of Nigerians are doing great in that same country and are being appreciated and celebrated.

“Mr President, who meets Nigerians every time he goes on official trips outside the country, always appeals to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they are.

“I must commend millions of our brothers and sisters excelling all over the world.

“Bad news travels fast and I appeal to the media to help spread the good news about Nigerians and not concentrate only on the once in a while negative stories,” she said.

All the convicted Nigerians were not identified by both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, UAE local newspapers, which reported the trial.

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016.

Out of the suspects, nine were convicted.

Eight of them were sentenced to death while the ninth person was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes while others denied the charges levelled against them.

The verdict was handed down by a judge, Majid Al Muhairi, of Sharjah Criminal Court on Wednesday.

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