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Thailand repatriates 19 Nigerian inmates
BANGKOK - Nineteen Nigerian prisoners on Friday left Thailand for home to serve their remaining imprisonment terms, a local newspaper reported Saturday.

The 19 was the last batch of 56 Nigerian inmates to be repatriated this year under an agreement between Thailand and Nigeria that took effect in November 2002.

All 19 were convicted on drug-related offenses.

Ten of them are serving life sentences and they were repatriated after serving eight years of their sentences in Thailand already, while the other nine are qualified for repatriation after serving at least four years here.

The repatriation program went smooth thanks to the "good cooperation" from the Nigerian government and more Nigerian inmates would go home in the future, newspaper Nation on Saturday quoted Corrections Department Director-General Natthee Jitsawang as saying.

So far, there are still 98 Nigerians serving terms in Thai prisons, most of whom were jailed for drug-related convictions. Many of them are qualified for repatriation but they have to wait until they or their families can afford their travel expenses.

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