Alleged Organ Harvesting: Immigration Confirms Age Of ‘Victim’ In Ekweremadu’s Case

A file photo of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has confirmed the age of the alleged victim of organ harvesting, David Nwamini, in a case involving former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the Comptroller General of NIS, Mr Isah Idris, disclosed that the said kidney donor was 21, and not 15 as claimed.

Channels Television had reported last Thursday that the London Metropolitan Police said it had arrested Senator Ekweremadu and his wife over allegations of conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting.

While the Met police said Nwamini was 15, a UK court ordered that the couple be remanded in custody till July 7 while investigations continued into the allegations against them.

This has sparked concerns from various parts of the country with many sending goodwill messages to the Ekweremadus and others saying the alleged victim took advantage of the couple to claim asylum in the UK.

READ ALSO: UK Police Arrest Ike Ekweremadu, Wife For Organ Harvesting

Amid the controversy over Nwamini’s age, the immigration chief explained the procedures involved before Nwamini was issued an international passport by the NIS.

He stressed that there was no falsification of age on the passport issued by the immigration as claimed, adding that the agency followed the due process.

According to Idris, insinuations that the NIS did not properly vet the said victim’s documents presented by Nwamini are mere fabrications aimed at tarnishing the image of the NIS.

He recounted that Nwamini applied and paid for the enhanced e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the Gwagwalada Passport Office in Abuja for an interview in November last year.

The NIS boss stated that the applicant presented his birth certificate issued by the National Population Commission (NPC) which indicated October 12, 2000, as his date of birth, in addition to other important documents showing his age.

He insisted that the date of birth or any other information on any passport issued by the immigration is printed on the document only after a thorough vetting process, adding that Nwamini’s case was not an exception.

Read the full statement below:

NIS STRICTLY ADHERED TO DUE PROCESS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE NIGERIAN PASSPORT TO MR DAVID UKPO NWAMINI

The attention of the Service has been drawn to the trending issue in connection with an alleged case of age falsification on a Nigerian Standard Passport issued by the Nigeria Immigration Service to a Nigerian who is alleged to be at the centre of an investigation of the case of “organ harvesting”.

The Service wishes to set the record straight by informing the general public that the views being expressed that the service did not properly vet the breeder documents issued by the applicant during his passport application process are not correct, but mere fabrications aimed at tarnishing the image of the Service.

The facts of the matter concerning the case above, therefore, are that the said Mr David Ukpo Nwamini applied and paid for the Enhanced e-passport using the NIS portal after which he approached the Gwagwalada Passport Office, FCT Abuja, on the 2nd of November, 2021 for his interview.

To support his application, Mr. Nwamini presented all the necessary documents required, including his birth certificate issued by National Population Commission (NPC), showing 12 October 2000, as his date of birth; his National Identity Number (NIN), issued by NIMC corroborating the date of birth; a certificate of origin issued by Ebonyi State Government Liaison Office Abuja, and a Guarantor’s form duly signed.

In view of the above, the general public may wish to be informed that the date of birth, or any other information, on any Nigerian passport is printed on the document only after a thorough vetting process that involves both the applicant’s breeder documents and the person. Mr. Nwamini’s case, therefore, was not an exception.

While assuring of the Service’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the passport, the Service wishes to seize this opportunity to appeal to the general public to desist from making such unfounded utterances as they are capable of denting the image of the Service.

Signed

ISAH JERE IDRIS

COMPTROLLER GENERAL

NIGERIA IMMIGRATION SERVICE

25TH JUNE, 2022

Immigration Decries Inability To Effectively Man Borderlines, 1,490 Illegal Entry Points

A file photo of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has decried the inadequacy within its workforce which it is said has prevented the service from properly manning the nation’s borderlines.

Acting Controller-General of Immigration (CGI), Isah Idris, stated this during a virtual media interaction where he said the major responsibility of the service was border security, without overlooking the importance of passport issuance as another mandate.

According to him, the entire workforce of NIS is not more than 25,000 while Nigeria’s borders are massive, covering 5,330 kilometres with an estimated 1,490 illegal entry points into the country.

“So, it is increasingly difficult for us to adequately man the borderlines,” the NIS boss admitted. “That is why we have continued to appeal to the government to increase our budgetary allocations and also grant us approval for recruitments to reinforce the workforce.

“We thank the President and the team for the approval and the recruitment we carried out in 2021, but the reality is that we need more personnel to achieve effective border management and control.”

Idris said the NIS has taken some measures to improve border security and tackle the influx of illegal migrants in the country.

For him, the best way to man the vast border points in Nigeria is the deployment of technology and with NIS technology building already in place, efforts have reached an advanced stage to launch electronic border management systems across 84 border locations.

The NIS chief added that the border patrol system was also being enhanced to ensure close and improved monitoring with the available personnel.

He revealed that the NIS conducts raids regularly and many irregular residents in Nigeria are regularly picked up and eased out.

Idris, however, cautioned Nigerians that not every non-Nigerian seen in the country should be classified as an illegal migrant, saying ECOWAS protocol which Nigeria is a signatory to also grants citizens of member-states freedom which comes with conditions.

“So, it takes experts like our men to determine if a non-Nigerian is an illegal resident or not,” he said. “Some of them have their papers that permit them to stay for a certain period based on the protocols we are committed to as a nation.

“We carry out raids and most times we don’t announce this for some diplomatic reasons. But I can assure Nigerians that we are doing our best to ensure that only legal migrants live and work in Nigeria. Just two days ago, three illegal Sudanese residents in Nigeria were picked up. So, we are not resting.”

Immigration Comptroller Warns Officers Against Corruption, Threatens Sanctions

A file photo of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Comptroller, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) Command, Lagos, Kemi Nandap, has warned officers against indulging in sharp practices.

In a statement issued on Friday by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Louisa Amadiokoro, the comptroller pledged to implement the roadmap of the acting Comptroller General of Immigration, Isah Jere, in fighting corruption in the system.

She warned that any officer at the Command caught engaging in swindling of air travellers or attempting to put the name of the service in disrepute would be dealt with accordingly.

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“The officers are presently undergoing an intensive training programme, which is aimed at re-orientating them and ensuring that they are adequately prepared for the task ahead,” Nandap was quoted as saying.

“Upon the completion of the training, the officers are expected to go round on attachment at different wings and other sections like the Visa on Arrival, Statistics, Human Resources, Quits Aviation and other key areas of the airport. After all these, the officers will be assessed based on their performance. If the Command is not satisfied with any of them, such an officer would be sent back for retraining.”

According to her, the essence of training officers is to ensure that the officers are well-equipped for the job ahead.

She emphasised that the Command being the first port of contact for international travellers coming into Nigeria, requires committed, hardworking and refined officers to positively represent the image of the country.

“The officers are presently undergoing an intensive training programme, which is aimed at re-orientating them and ensuring that they are adequately prepared for the task ahead,” Nandap said.

“Upon the completion of the training, the officers are expected to go round on attachment at different wings and other sections like the Visa on Arrival, Statistics, Human Resources, Quits Aviation and other key areas of the airport. After all these, the officers will be assessed based on their performance. If the Command is not satisfied with any of them, such an officer would be sent back for retraining.”

The service headquarters recently redeployed over 30 officers to the MMA Command following the commissioning of the new international terminal at the airport.

Some of the officers would be deployed to the new terminal, which was commissioned on March 22, by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Immigration Officials Intercept American Citizen With Firearms At Lagos Airport

The new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos is expected handle up to 20 million passengers annually.
A file photo showing the new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos which is expected to handle up to 20 million passengers annually.

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos Command has intercepted an American citizen with firearms at the airport.

The male passenger, whose name was not given, arrived in the country aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston, the United States at 10:10 am on Thursday and was discovered to have checked in the firearms.

According to an investigation, the passenger had two international passports; Nigerian and American.

A security official speaking off-camera said that the American citizen did not declare the firearms as stipulated in international laws on firearms carriage.

He explained that the passenger had some documents from the U.S which allowed him to carry firearms but the authenticity of the papers could not be ascertained.

FAAN Confirms Immigration Officers Extorted 14-Year-Old Girl

A file photo of FAAN logo.

 

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has confirmed the reports that some immigration officers extorted money from a 14-year-old girl that was en route to Canada.

In a series of tweets via her handle @Imoteda, the mother of the girl, on February 19, 2022, explained that her daughter was travelling on Qatar Airlines when two officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service extorted the sum of eight thousand naira from her daughter.

“They took money from a 14 year(sic) Didn’t even leave her with 1kobo or one thousand naira so she can buy food while she waits,” she wrote. “I am so angry. A child!!!!!!! Why are you stealing money from a child! And you took all of it and didn’t let her call her mother?!!!”

Following the allegations, the FAAN Aviation security officers were however commissioned to investigate the accusations.

In a statement by the Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, the accusations were true and officers involved were identified with the help of CCTV footage.

“Upon investigation, they found the allegation to be true, as the officers involved were identified with the help of footages on our CCTV facility, and the cooperation from the Nigerian Immigration Service.

“Consequently, the officers were made to refund the exact amount collected from the passenger.

“Their On Duty Cards were also withdrawn permanently, and they have been banned from working in any Nigerian airport, to serve as a deterrent to others”, the statement read”.

The Ag, GM of the authority commended the mother of the teenage “who has confirmed receipt of the money, for deeming it fit to escalate the case, and assisting us tremendously in the course of our investigation.

“Also, we would like to express our appreciation to the Comptroller of Immigration, MMA, and her team for her cooperation and support in addressing this issue”, she added.

She further added that the Authority will continue to identify and sanction any airport official (including FAAN officials) found to be extorting passengers or perpetuating any act of illegality at our airports.

Odili Passport Seizure: Court Awards N2m Fine Against Immigration

A photo combination of the Federal High Court Abuja and ex-Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili.
A photo combination of the Federal High Court Abuja and ex-Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili.

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja has awarded the sum of N2 million against the Nigerian Immigration Service for their absence in court twice, in the suit between the former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, and the NIS.

In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to take disciplinary measures against the counsel of the immigration service Jimoh Adamu, for his absence in court and unprofessional conduct.

READ ALSO: Sylvester Oromoni: Court Grants Five Dowen Students Bail Of N1m Each

The court also ordered that he must be present in court at the next adjourned date, to show cause why disciplinary measures should not be taking against him.

Counsel to Odili, Ifedayo Adedipe, had urged the court to, among others, penalise Adamu for disrespecting the court and treating it with contempt.

The case has been adjourned to January 23, 2022, for hearing.

Peter Odili Sues Nigerian Immigration Over Passport Seizure

Peter Odili (File Photo)

 

Former Governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili, has dragged the Nigeria Immigration Service, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the seizure of his passport at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

In the fundamental rights enforcement suit on Wednesday, he claimed that the international passport was seized from him on June 20, by operatives of the service and has been withheld since then.

Odili prayed the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, to compel the service to release the passport and order a perpetual injunction against the respondents, from harassing him any further and interfering with his fundamental rights of movement.

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However, the immigration service revealed that the former governor’s passport was seized because he was on the watchlist of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The affidavit by the service also indicated that Mr Odili had never cared to know why his passport was seized, or demand its release.

Justice Mohammed subsequently fixed September 28, 2021 for hearing.

Immigration Rescues 11-Month-Old Baby, Nine Other Victims In Katsina

Some suspected victims of human trafficking being rescued by the Katsina Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service on May 7, 2021.

 

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has rescued 10 suspected trafficked victims along the famous Babban Mutum Axis in Katsina State.

It was gathered that the victims comprise an 11-month-old baby girl, eight women and a man are from Delta, Edo, Lagos, Enugu and Ekiti States.

They were said to have been misled by their traffickers whose business is to ferry persons across the border through illegal routes for their selfish gains.

Briefing journalists on Friday at the command headquarters in Katsina, the NIS Commander, Comptroller Abdurrazaq Mu’azu said that none of the victims was in possession of any travel document with no means of livelihood.

READ ALSO: Several Gunmen Killed In Attempted Attack On Imo Police Station

He noted that the victims were rescued in their attempt to cross the border to the Niger Republic en-route Libya through one of the Nigerian illegal routes.

“I will like to assure the general public that Katsina State will no longer be used as a transit route for trans-border Crimes,” he said.

“As you can see before you, these ten suspected victims of Human Trafficking will now be handed over to NAPTIP Liaison Office, Katsina for further investigation, counselling, training, rehabilitation and prosecution as the case may be.”

The NIS Commander also advised human traffickers, migrant smugglers and their collaborators to have a change of mind and stop the illegal business, adding that the Service has provided a conducive atmosphere in terms of welfare and training to counter the challenges.

He also announced that this brings a total of 33 victims of human trafficking rescued and four suspected traffickers arrested by the command from March 19 to date.

This comes about two months after two suspects were nabbed in connection with human trafficking by operatives of the Nigeria Immigration Service in Katsina State.

The suspects identified as Fatima Abdullahi, and Amadu Abdullahi, both from Lagos State were arrested on March 16th following an intelligence report received by the command.

In the process of arresting the suspects at Charanchi Patrol Base, 18 victims have been rescued.

Buhari Directs Immigration To Tighten Security Around Nigeria’s Borders

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to improve surveillance and control around the nation’s borders.

Giving his speech at the virtual commissioning ceremony of the NIS Technology Building on Thursday in Abuja, he urged the NIS to collaborate with international security organisations such as INTERPOL in safeguarding the borders.

The President asked the service to ensure that criminal elements do not find Nigeria as a safe haven to hide and perpetrate their criminality.

He also instructed all security agencies to raise their performance in protecting lives and property, with a mandate that the nation’s Global Security Index must be improved.

“It is imperative that our ranking in the Global Security Index improves and I am using this medium to call on all security agencies to step up their activities towards achieving this goal.

“I assure you that the administration will give the much-needed support to you in your operations,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

READ ALSO: Nigeria To Begin COVID-19 Vaccination On Friday

He added, “As a security agency, I charge you to be relentless in carrying out your statutory duties of keeping our borders safe … remember that a safe border is a prerequisite for a safe nation.

“You must develop strong working relationships and ties with the international community and friendly nations as it relates to migration management; adopt and implement workable strategies from them while also sharing your best practices.”

A file photo of the head office of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Economic Boom For Nigerians

President Buhari asked frontline workers and operators to see themselves as the nation’s windows to the world and must always show the best face of Nigeria.

He commended the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, for consistently pushing for the completion of the Technology Building, which would serve as the Command and Control Centre of the NIS, as well as the repository of personal data of Nigerians and foreigners resident in Nigeria.

“This is in line with the vision of our administration to formulate and implement policies that will protect and enhance the lives and standards of living for Nigerians.

“This administration is relentless in its avowed desire to create an enabling business environment that will usher in an economic boom for Nigerians and all those who do business with and in Nigeria,” the President said.

He also congratulated all officers and men of the NIS for their dedication and work towards changing into a ‘world-class migration management agency’.

In his remarks, Aregbesola gave an assurance that the security challenges in the country were temporal and surmountable.

He acknowledged that the “weakest link” had been the land borders and the Technology Building would play a pivotal role in the control of illegal migration.

The minister noted that the Visa-on-Arrival policy of the Federal Government has proper documentation of all entrants to ensure tight surveillance and compliance while announcing a review period of stay from 90 days to 30 days.

He said 50 percent of all immigration personnel would now work at the borders of the country.

On his part, the NIS Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammed Babandede, said the Technology Building remained the best project the service has ever initiated and completed since it was established in 1958.

He said the deployment of technology from the Control Room would optimise intelligence, ensure that no passport lost, stolen, or re-issued could be presented in any part of the world, as well as enhance synchronisation and virtual sharing of information with other security outfits, both local and international.

Aregbesola and Babandede thanked President Buhari for approving the project in 2018 and following up with the completion of all phases of the facility.

Nigeria Immigration Service Loses Taraba Comptroller

Map of Taraba
A map of Taraba, a state in Nigeria’s North-East region.

 

The Taraba State Comptroller of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Theman Doris, is dead.

According to a press statement issued on Tuesday by the Taraba Deputy Comptroller of the service, H.K. Usman, the former Comptroller died on February 13.

Before her posting to Taraba, she was the Comptroller ICT and worked with the Investigation Unit of the service, Lagos State Command.

She reported to the Taraba State Command as the Comptroller of the service on March 10, 2020.

She will be laid to rest on Friday at the Baptist Church, Garki Area II, Abuja.

Biden Plans Immediate Orders On Immigration, COVID-19, Environment

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 19: President-elect Joe Biden speaks at a memorial for victims of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of the presidential inauguration on January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to kick off his new administration Wednesday with orders to restore the United States to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, aides said.

Biden will sign 17 orders and actions just hours after being sworn in as US leader to break from policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, they said.

In first-day moves, he will end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, the aides said.

He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of Covid-19; restore protections of valuable nature reserves removed by Trump; and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living inside the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.

Biden’s staff said he wanted to hit the ground running given the deep health and economic challenges facing the country.

Biden “will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” the aides said in a statement.

“These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

– New approach to Covid –

Many of the actions will take government policies back to where they were on January 19, 2017 — the final day of the Barack Obama-Joe Biden administration, before Trump entered office and took a wrecking ball to many of their initiatives.

Jeff Zients, the new president’s point-man for fighting the pandemic, said Biden would start by establishing an office of Covid-19 response inside the White House.

A 100-day “masking challenge” will be led with a presidential order for wearing masks in all federal properties and activities, setting the standard for private companies, individual states and communities to follow suit, Zients said.

Wednesday “starts a new day, a new, different approach to managing the country’s response to Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

That includes reversing Trump’s decision to leave the World Health Organization.

To underscore Biden’s decision, Zients said, leading US coronavirus expert Anthony Fauci will lead a delegation to take part in the WHO Executive Board meeting on Thursday.

“America’s withdrawal from the international arena has impeded progress on the global response and left us more vulnerable to future pandemics,” he said.

Gina McCarthy, the new administration’s chief climate advisor, said returning to the 2016 Paris accord was essential to making fighting climate change a central tenet of Biden administration policy.

Biden will reverse Trump decisions to ease emissions and efficiency standards, and rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a large project that would bring relatively high-polluting Canadian oil into the United States.

“The day-one climate executive orders will begin to put the US back on the right footing, a footing we need to restore American leadership, helping to position our nation to be the global leader in clean energy and jobs,” said McCarthy.

Other actions by the new president will require a government-wide, proactive equality effort for minority groups, in hiring, contracting, and service.

“The President-elect has promised to root out systemic racism from our institutions,” said Susan Rice, his Domestic Policy Council director.

Border: Closure Is Good For Nigeria’s Security, Says Immigration Boss

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Mohammed Babandede

 

The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Mohammed Babandede, says the closure of Nigeria’s borders is good for the nation’s security.

He said this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight.

“It is good Nigeria closes its borders. It is good Nigeria muzzles up a little bit to show that we are a country and that we care about our security and economy,” he said.

The immigration boss also called for more border security, emphasizing the need for better cooperation with other neighbouring countries to tackle illegal entry and criminal activities.

He explained that during the over 12 months the Federal Government shut the nation’s borders, neighbouring countries understood the political will of the current administration.

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“Nigeria has spoken with a political voice through actions that is why you see greater cooperation from our neighbours.

“I am glad in terms of immigration, within the period we closed the borders, we have received a lot of people who have left our territory through the unlawful path. Those people, we have taken to court and prosecuted them,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 2019 shut Nigeria’s land borders to curtail illegal importation of drugs, small arms and agricultural products into the country from neighbouring West African nations.

The President, however, ordered the immediate reopening of the borders on December 16, 2020.