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NIS arrests five Nigerian girls without valid docs. on Badagry waterways

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By Abiodun OBA

At least five Nigerian girls from Akwa Ibom State, Rivers State and Anambra State travelling to Port Novo, Ghana and Senegal without proper travelling documents have been arrested.

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), said  on Friday.

In a statement by the Spokesman of the Lagos Seaports and Marine Command of the NIS, Augustus Maisor, out of the five girls, two girls were arrested onboard a Porto Novo bound passenger boat by NIS personnel.

The NIS statement disclosed, “Two Nigerian girls were on Friday, 24th November, 2023 at about 1500 hours apprehended on board a Porto Novo bound passenger boat by personnel on patrol along Badagry waterways.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the girls whose names were given as Blessing Idongesit (24) from Akwa Ibom State and Favour Doctor John (18) from Rivers State, had left Port Harcourt the previous day with the help of their friend whom they claimed promised them a better job in an undisclosed location.

“However, the alleged arrowhead was not part of the thwarted journey. Part of the deal was for the duo to insulate their relationship from other passengers and security personnel as a deliberate way of evading arrest, but luck ran out of them when they were intercepted by a detachment of eagle-eyed personnel from the Badagry Marine Patrol Unit.

“Also, on Sunday, 26th November 2023, at about 2000 hours, three other girls identified as Imaobong Joseph (22), Christiana Udo(23) from Akwa-Ibom State and Nice Ajide( 19) from Anambra State were arrested without travel documents or valid means of identity while en route to Ghana and Senegal under the pretext of seeking what they called “better jobs”.

“Whereas the abandoned first-time travelers claimed to be oblivious of the kind of job they would be engaged in, it was revealed that they were aware of their destination and willfully gave consent to the fleeing smugglers who facilitated the journey through proxies.

“Upon interrogation, the arrested suspect whose identity was given as Helen Osoji admitted assisting Miss Imaobong to get a job in Ghana through a third party who could no longer be contacted; having got wind of the arrest. Further investigation is being carried out to unravel the identity of the fugitive and her accomplices in the nefarious activity.

“These arrests are coming on the heels of an earlier one, which involved seven smuggled migrants and a suspected smuggler.

“Alarmed by the ugly trend, the Comptroller of Immigration, Lagos Seaports and Marine Command, Mohammed Saddiq has implored commercial boat operators to be more vigilant and report suspicious movements to the Command for immediate action.

He warned that the Command would not hesitate to invoke relevant Sections of the Immigration Act, 2015 on anyone found to be complicit in the illicit act. He re-echoed the unwavering Commitment of the Comptroller General of Immigration Service, Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju toward halting all forms of trans-border criminality.

“While commending the joint effort of the Badagry Marine Patrol and Special Intelligence Units, CIS Saddiq stated that the Command would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that fleeing members of the syndicate are apprehended.”

However, efforts made toward reuniting the victims from Akwa Ibom State with their families were rebuffed by the representatives of the State Liaison Officer in Lagos. The suspected smuggler has been granted bail on health grounds while investigation is ongoing.

© 2023, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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